Former American Bar Association president Bill Robinson has died

William T. “Bill” Robinson III
William T. “Bill” Robinson III

Former president of the American Bar Association William T. “Bill” Robinson III, the member-in-charge of law firm Frost Brown Todd’s Florence offices, died Tuesday.

Robinson was was active in economic development initiatives in the Northern Kentucky area.

Robinson focused primarily on civil litigation during his 40-year legal career, defending class action lawsuits and handling “commercial litigation, product liability defense, environmental litigation and medical malpractice defense,” according to Frost Brown Todd. Before joining Frost Brown Todd in 2007, he had been with Greenebaum Doll & McDonald since 1990.

He was president of the American Bar Association from 2011 to 2012 and held a number of other positions in the organization. He was currently serving as chairman of the Standing Committee of the American Judicial System. He also was a past president of the Kentucky Bar Association and held leadership roles in other legal organizations.

American Bar Association President Linda Klein issued a statement saying, in part, “Robinson was an indefatigable champion of the rule of law and an independent judiciary. He fought tirelessly to secure adequate court funding. ... By shining a bright public spotlight on the human consequences of underfunded courts — including delayed justice for individuals and long lines around courthouses — he is credited with convincing many state legislatures to address the issue.”

Last summer, he was named chairman of the National Judicial College Board of Trustees, which provides education to judges in the U.S. and beyond.

Klein said Robinson was an optimistic man who was known for using the phrase “upward and onward.”

Robinson was known for co-founding the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corp., or Tri-ED. He helped start the Regional Economic Development Initiative, or REDI Cincinnati, and was former chairman of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

He was a member of and former chairman of the board that runs the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Robinson was a graduate of Thomas More College and the University of Kentucky College of Law. He was inducted into the UK law school’s Alumni Hall of Fame in 2004.

His wife of 47 years, Joan Robinson, is among his survivors.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at Swindler & Currin Funeral Homes.