A strategic advisor to public and private clients, Bill Purcell has spent more than 40 years in law, public service, and higher education. Having represented clients in all of the trial courts of Nashville and the federal and state appellate courts, he has been focused on advising clients with administrative and policy concerns at the local and state levels across Tennessee.
During his eight-year tenure as mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee (1999-2007), the city saw unprecedented economic expansion, an increase in Metro school funding of more than 50 percent, and the development and preservation of more than 26,000 affordable housing units. He was elected to his second term as mayor by a record-setting 84.8 percent of the vote. During his term, Nashville was ranked as the number one city for corporate headquarters relocations and twice the hottest city in America for business expansion and relocation. Bill was elected to five terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives (1986-96), serving as majority leader (1990-96). During his decade in the General Assembly, he sponsored and passed legislation undertaking significant reforms in Tennessee’s schools, courtrooms, industrial plants and boardrooms, criminal and juvenile justice, hospitals, and voting booths. During his service, Tennessee has twice ranked the best-managed state in America.
An active participant in the work of his profession, Bill has been honored by the Nashville Bar Association with the John C. Tune Award for outstanding contributions to his community and faithful service to the bar. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Hamilton College and his law degree at Vanderbilt University School of Law, where he was honored as the 2004 Distinguished Alumnus. Currently an adjunct professor of public policy at Vanderbilt University, he was the Founding Dean of the College of Public Service at Tennessee State University and director of NPI of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School.