B.A., Denison University, 1968
J.D., Michigan State University, 1973
Citation awarded May, 2008
Bill Canfield is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of congressional process and procedures, especially congressional investigations and federal election law. He served as committee counsel on Capitol Hill for 18 years, principally with the U.S. Senate, and conducted extensive ethics investigations of two sitting U.S. senators.
In his private practice, Bill represented the Republican members of the Senate Rules Committee in the contested elections involving California Senator Diane Feinstein (1994-95) and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu (1996-97). He also has represented a number of clients, including a U.S. senator, before both the House and Senate Ethics committees. He was general counsel to the presidential campaign of Senator Richard G. Lugar (1995-98) and represented the re-election committees of a number of Republican senators and representatives as well as a number of congressional leadership and corporate political action committees before the Federal Election Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Since entering private practice in 1993, Bill has appeared on a number of media outlets as an expert commentator. He is the author of numerous articles and is regularly quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, National Journal, Legal Times, and Congressional Quarterly. Bill practices administrative and legislative law as a partner with the well-known Washington, D.C., law firm of Williams & Jensen. He is licensed to practice in the District of Columbia and Michigan and has served the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Election Law including two terms as the committee’s chair. In his community, Bill is a former trustee of both The Decade Society and the Conduit Road Fire Board Inc. For Denison, Bill has served on his reunion committee, been a career adviser and a DART recruiter.
One last note of interest: in 1972, the second time the race was held, Bill teamed up with two buddies to enter—and win!—the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, later depicted in the Burt Reynolds movies, “Cannonball Run I” and “Cannonball Run II.” He thought the race was a real lark; he hated the movie.
We honor Bill Canfield ’68 for his tireless efforts on behalf of Congress, his unshakable conviction that ethical behavior is the foundation of responsible government, and his unabashed joy in pure play.