Remembering Bill Arthur
The Porter Wright family is deeply saddened by the passing of William E. (Bill) Arthur. Bill was more than just a partner to us. He was a visionary and an icon in the business and legal community both in Columbus and beyond. Bill was a great lawyer, a true partner and to so many that he practiced his craft with, a friend. Bill left an indelible mark on our firm that goes well beyond his name. With a deep sense of gratitude for all that Bill brought to us, our heartfelt condolences go out to the Arthur family.
For over 65 years, Bill Arthur’s creativity, sharp legal acumen, leadership and forward-thinking ambition forged an enduring legacy at Porter Wright. Even after his formal retirement from legal practice, Bill continued to provide insight to firm management and its lawyers.
Bill’s distinguished legal career at the firm began in 1955 when he joined then-named Porter, Stanley, Treffinger & Platt. Bringing experience from the Judge Advocate General’s office and two years of service with the United States Air Force, Bill started with the firm as an associate in tax law. He was asked by prominent federal tax partner Joseph Platt to join the firm and already knew attorney Sam Porter, with whom he had been a classmate at The Ohio State University.
He was the firm’s youngest attorney and quickly emerged as an energetic, well-regarded business lawyer. From the start, Bill had a strong desire to help the firm grow. In 1972, he was elected chairman of the firm’s governing committee, and the firm’s name was changed to Porter, Stanley, Platt & Arthur in recognition of his leadership.
Just five years later, due largely to Bill’s vision for organic growth and progress, the firm merged with nearby law firm Wright, Harlor, Morris & Arnold to establish Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur. Bill believed that a larger firm was not only necessary for continued success, but for survival itself. It was the largest merger of two law firms in Ohio at the time, and one of the most prominent nationally. The size and scope of the merger had a great impact on the legal community.
During his celebrated career, Bill served as chairman of Porter Wright’s Executive Committee, its Directing Partners Committee, and its Business and Tax Department, and he served as counsel to the firm. He also served as an officer and/or director of a number of Central Ohio corporations, and formerly was involved as general counsel for a number of startup enterprises and major organizations. In his local community, Bill served on the board of trustees of the Columbus Museum of Art, the Columbus Symphony and the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, his alma mater.