William D. (Bill) Powell is a native of Fort Smith, Arkansas. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas, was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated with High Honors in 1954. He earned his LL.B. summa cum laude, graduating first in his class and Order of the Woolsack from SMU Dedman School of Law in 1957. As a law student, Powell served as Editor-in-Chief of the SMU Law Review (then known as Southwestern Law Journal), was a member of the Barristers, and was elected President of the Law Fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta.
Following graduation, Powell was the first SMU Dedman Law graduate to be selected as a Law Clerk for the United State Supreme Court, serving Justice Tom C. Clark during the 1957-1958 term of the Court.
Powell began private practice in Dallas with the firm Carrington, Gowan, Johnson, Bromberg & Leeds in 1958. After the firm reorganized into two separate firms, he continued for 35 years with the firm Johnson, Bromberg & Leeds.
When the practice of real estate law came to be viewed as a distinct area of specialization rather than part of a business practice, Powell became one of a relatively small group of real estate attorneys in Dallas. His first real estate project was working with two other attorneys in his firm representing Raymond Nasher in the development of NorthPark Center; he later directed the legal work for NorthPark Center’s expansion and The Nasher Sculpture Center project.
Powell has represented many other leading Dallas real estate developers, investors, and service companies, such as Lincoln Property Company and I.C. Deal Companies, in their local and national activities – representing some for several decades. In 1995, he was a founding partner of the firm now known as Powell Coleman & Arnold LLP, a “boutique” firm which specializes
in real estate and general business law.
Powell has been selected by his peers to be listed in The Best Lawyers in America for 30 years since the inception of the publication in 1983. He has also been recognized among the “Best Lawyers in Dallas” by D Magazine and as one of the “Texas Super Lawyers” by Texas Monthly Magazine.
He is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a Senior Life Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation.
Powell served as a member of the board of directors of NorthPark National Bank before its merger with Comerica Bank. He also has served as president of the SMU Law Alumni Association, as chairman of the SMU Law Fund Campaign, and as the Law Alumni member of an SMU School of Law Dean Search Committee.
Powell and his late wife Dewena had four children. He continues to enjoy his two surviving sons and their families, which include his three grandchildren.