William C. McKinney

Shareholder  |  Greenville  |  Raleigh

Meet William

William McKinney represents clients in governmental, economic development and complex litigation matters. Prior to rejoining the firm, William served as General Counsel to the Governor of North Carolina and Special Counsel to the Attorney General of North Carolina. As General Counsel, he directed the legal strategy of the Governor’s administration in matters such as the state’s COVID-19 State of Emergency and accompanying litigation, multiple hurricanes and high-stakes separation of powers litigation. William also advised on state and federal legislation, executive appointments, public records, executive orders, ethics matters, state finance issues and filling judicial vacancies.
In addition to his state and local government experience, William worked in Washington, D.C. as a political officer with the United States Department of State before entering law school. He previously served as an associate attorney with the firm in 2012-2014.
  • University of South Carolina, J.D., cum laude, 2012
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A., 2003
  • South Carolina, 2012
  • North Carolina, 2013
  • U.S. District Court, South Carolina, 2013
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina, 2016
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 2017
Honors and Awards
  • Recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, the highest civilian honor presented by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper in 2021
  • North Carolina Open Government Coalition “Sunshine Award” 2018
  • CALI Award: Constitutional Law, Business Associations, Federal Courts
Professional and Civic Activities
  • South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors (2021-Present)
  • North Carolina Tribal-State Compact Certification Commission, Chair (2021-Present)
  • South Carolina Historical Society, Manager (2019-Present)
  • SouthArts, Director (2019-Present), Secretary (2020-Present)
  • Uniform Law Commission Public Health Emergencies Drafting Committee, American Bar Association Judicial Division Liaison (2021-Present)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Public Policy, Adjunct Faculty (2014)
  • Edenton Street United Methodist Church Children’s Development Center, Director (2019-Present)
  • Coach, youth basketball and soccer
Presentations and Publications