Senior Member

Location: Frankfort, Kentucky
Phone: 502-223-1200
Fax: (502) 227-7385
Email: Email Me

William D. Kirkland, a native of Boyle County, is a graduate of Centre College and Vanderbilt University School of Law, where he was on the Moot Court and was named the Outstanding Associate Justice. Upon graduation from Vanderbilt he moved to Frankfort and worked as an attorney for the old Department of Highways, Department of Natural Resources and Department of Economic Security. There he performed a variety of legal services, including administrative matters, litigation, agency hearings and appeals to Franklin Circuit Court. He was the sole attorney representing the Division of Reclamation for two years.

After three years in state government he was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney where he primarily prosecuted federal felony cases, but he also handled administrative matters and defended federal condemnation cases related to Cave Run Lake. He was given the U.S. Department of Justice Award of Merit and was selected to teach in the Attorney General’s Trial School in Washington, D.C.

Later he served as an Associate Attorney with the firm of Tarrant, Combs, and Bullitt in its Lexington office, where he engaged in general legal practice including domestic, land and property, criminal defense and plaintiff’s claims. After five years he returned to practice in Frankfort and later joined the firm of McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland and is the founding partner of the Frankfort office. He has practiced extensively in the field of insurance defense, complex litigation, creditor’s rights and administrative law for 42 years in addition to his years of government service. He has been active in many community and charitable activities.

Areas of Practice

  • Insurance Defense
  • Administrative Law
  • Appellate Practice
  • Commercial law
  • Complex Litigation
  • Corporate law
  • Estates
  • Procurement Law
  • Trusts
  • Wills

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, 1983
  • Listed in “Best Lawyers in America”

Bar Admissions

  • Kentucky, 1967
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky, 1969
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Kentucky, 1976
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1979
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1970


Vanderbilt University School of Law, Nashville, Tennessee

  • J. D. – 1967
  • Honors: Moot Court, 1965
  • Honors: Recipient of the Outstanding Associate Justice Award, 1966

Centre College, Danville

  • A.B. – 1964
  • Honors: Dean’ List, 1963-64
  • Honors: Varsity sports
  • Major: Economics

Published Works

  • Author, “The Mechanics of a Reclamation Law,” Kentucky State Bar Journal, July 1969
  • Co-Author, “Kentucky Civil Practice at Trial,” 1989

Honors and Awards

  • U.S. Department of Justice Award, 1975

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Franklin County Bar Association, President, 1991 – Present
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Kentucky Defense Counsel
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference, Life Member
  • Frankfort Housing Authority, Board, 1980- 2010
  • Merit Selection Panel on Bankruptcy Judgeships, Chairman, 1989 – Present
  • Kentucky Board of Elections, Member, 2002-2010
  • Governor’s Task Force on Education, 1977-1979

Past Employment Positions

    • Kentucky Department for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Senior Attorney, 1967-1970
  • Lexington, Kentucky, Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1970-1975

Pro Bono Activities

  • Board, Lexington Theological Seminary


  • Phi Delta Phi