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William R. "Bill" Bruce originally joined Stokes Bartholomew in 1993 and became a part of Adams and Reese following the firms' mergers in 2005. He is a member of the firm's Government Relations Team, with experience in the areas of corporate, banking and commercial, insurance, environmental, telecommunications and real estate law.

 He is listed in Best Lawyers® in Government Relations Law.

 Bill is a former member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1966–1968 and of the Tennessee Senate from 1968–1972, including two of those years as the Senate Democratic Majority Leader. He ran for the United States Senate in 1978.

His significant contributions include:

  • Author of several articles for the Tennessee Bar Journal, the University of Memphis Law Review and other professional publications, including Professional Responsibilities of Lobbyists, the Tennessee Solid Waste Management Act and Legislation Affecting Real Estate Practice.
  • Lecturer in law at Vanderbilt University Law School and frequent speaker for numerous continuing legal education programs sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association and other organizations.

 His civic activities include past service as a member of the Board of Trustees of The University of the South (Sewanee, Tennessee), of the Middle Tennessee Advisory Board of Regions Bank and of the Natural Areas Advisory Committee of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. In addition, he previously served as Vice Chairman of both the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and of the Tennessee Judicial Council and as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation. During the Administration of Governor Ned McWherter, he was a Commissioner for the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

 Bill was the first Chairman of the Health, Educational and Housing Facility Board of the City of Memphis, Tennessee, and is a past President of the West Tennessee Easter Seals Society. He served as an Artillery and Judge Advocate General’s Corps officer in the United States Army Reserve from 1957–1968. 

A graduate of both the College and the Law School of the University of Virginia, Bill is a member of the Tennessee, Nashville and Memphis Bar Associations and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, Tennessee Bar Foundation and Nashville Bar Foundation.


  • University of Virginia Law School, LL.B., 1959
  • University of Virginia, B.A., 1956

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee

Areas of Practice


  • AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers® - Government Relations Practice

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Nashville Bar Foundation

Tennessee Bar Foundation

American Bar Foundation, Fellow

Tennessee Bar Association

Memphis Bar Association

Nashville Bar Association

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Natural Areas Advisory Committee

The University of the South (Sewanee, Tennessee), Board of Trustees