The William E. Wegner Professionalism Award was established in 2022. It is an annual award designed to honor a lawyer, judge, or legal scholar for exemplary civility and excellence in the practice of law. The award is named after William E. “Bill” Wegner, 2014 President of the Litigation Counsel of America. Bill was a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, in Los Angeles, California, for 35 years. A preeminent trial lawyer and legal author, Bill had extensive trial experience in commercial, antitrust, intellectual property, entertainment, and product liability litigation throughout his career. His trial and litigation successes also included securities class action defense, mass environmental torts, product defect and recall, antitrust, Lanham Act, false advertising, unfair completion, copyright infringement, publicity rights, weights and measures regulatory actions, and commercial gaming cases. His frequent description as “calm under fire” might have been attributable to seven years of military service in the U.S. Army Medical Services Corps (Third Infantry Division), where he developed strategic skills that he continued to employ in his trial practice. While serving, he was awarded the U.S. Army Commendations Medal, Oak Leaf Cluster. He was also designated Defender of Berlin by the Commandant of West Berlin for service behind the Iron Curtain in defense of the city of West Berlin.
In addition to LCA Senior Fellowship, Bill was consistently named in the Top 100 Lawyers in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Business Journal, and The Best Lawyers in America, for Product Liability Litigation – Defendants. He was a perennial Super Lawyer in the area of civil litigation and holds an AV Preeminent® rating in Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™. Bill was Past President of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers and former Chairman of the President’s Counsel Executive Committee, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. He co-authored the California Practice Guide – Civil Trials and Evidence, Volumes 1-3; and the Federal Practice Guide – Civil Trials and Evidence, Volumes 1-3, (The Rutter Group/Thompson West). He also published the comprehensive work Relations Among Competitors in Restraint of Trade – Horizontal Price Fixing (Practicing Law Institute), and various articles, including “Fifty Ways to Leave Your ‘Judger’ – Challenging the Judge” (Litigation Magazine, American Bar Association).
Before his military service, Bill was a graduate of the University of Santa Clara. Afterward, he graduated from the University of Puget Sound School of Law before joining Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Bill was truly a passionate and successful civil trial lawyer. He inspired many to follow his path and made a profound impact in his field with his sharp intellect, creativity, and a personal approach to cases.
His civic involvement included being a board member for the Stand Up and Shout Foundation, Chair of the Shakespeare Festival of Los Angeles, board member for The Wonder of Reading, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Presidents Counsel of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and membership in the Chancery Club.
Bill brought this same energy and passion to his personal life. His curiosity and love of the ocean inspired him to learn to scuba dive, and he taught his three children, Matthew, Michael, and Kristen, to dive as well. He took his family on dive trips, ski trips, European vacations, and camping trips to the Sequoia National Forest. He loved nature and animals, and was active in conserving the oceans and wildlife places on the planet.
After his retirement from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, in 2015 at age 65, he continued to practice law with his son, Matt, and his wife, Tally. Bill and Tally enjoyed traveling together, scuba diving throughout the world, visiting family and friends, and playing with their beloved dogs, Atticus and Oliver. He loved deeply, and was deeply loved.
Bill passed away on October 14, 2021, at the age of 71. He was survived by his wife, Tally, his three children, Matthew, Michael and Kristen and their spouses, and his grandchildren, Hannah, Sarah, Patrick, Eva, Alisa, Maya, William and Nathan.
“In the practice of law, professionalism and civility at the level of excellence are too often simply ideals, rather than natural applications. Bill consistently utilized both with precision in combination with his masterful courtroom skills, thus creating a formidable trial technique.”
–Steven Henry, Executive Director and General Counsel, Litigation Counsel of America
Adam Arceneaux (2022)
Ice Miller LLP
LCA Senior Fellow Adam Arceneaux, Chair of Ice Miller’s Commercial Litigation Group, in Indianapolis, Indiana, has been named the 2022, inaugural recipient of the William E. Wegner Professionalism Award. Adam’s reputation for excellence in the courtroom, while employing professionalism and civility when litigating with or against other members of the bar, is well-known by peers, judges, colleagues, and clients alike. In his practice, Adam is dedicated to helping businesses achieve their goals through the strategic use of litigation, alternative dispute resolution and litigation avoidance planning. Early case assessment, meticulous preparation, regular status updates, and proactively addressing client needs are at the core of Adam’s personal commitment to those he serves.
Adam has developed and implemented successful strategies for multi-million dollar claims and has litigated cases in state and federal courts in 22 states across the country. He has served as lead defense counsel in eleven significant class action lawsuits filed in five states. Among his clients are businesses of all sizes, including both privately held and publicly traded companies. He has represented clients in health care, agriculture, manufacturing, distribution and technology, among other industries.
With a focus on complex commercial litigation and around the clock accessibility for emergency claims, Adam’s practice includes drafting, defending or defeating covenants not to compete, non-solicitation clauses, confidentiality agreements and trade secrets claims. He has obtained, and defended against, temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, as well as other forms of emergency relief in state and federal courts. Adam has advised clients on more than 200 such matters and has litigated over 50 such matters, including three significant cases which resulted in published opinions by the appellate courts.
In addition, Adam has significant experience resolving business disputes involving termination of dealer/distributorship agreements, contract disputes, Uniform Commercial Code disputes and warranty disputes. He also represents municipalities and municipal utilities in a variety of litigated matters.
He serves as a trusted advisor who is frequently called upon as outside general counsel to emerging, fast growth and middle market companies. Persuasive and practical, Adam is valued by clients and colleagues alike for his civility and personal dedication to professionalism.
Adam is a recipient of the Peter Perlman Service Award and currently serves as Chair of the Indiana University McKinney School of Law Board of Visitors and Secretary of the Indiana Historical Society Board of Trustees. He is a member of The Center for the Performing Arts Board of Directors, The Great American Songbook Foundation Board of Directors, and the Hamilton County Community Foundation Board of Directors. He has also served as Chair of the Complex Commercial Litigation Institute.