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William M. Lear Jr.

Member, Lexington

Bill has been with Stoll Keenon Ogden since 1980 and serves as Chair Emeritus from his office in Lexington. He was the Managing Director for 22 years and Chairman of the Board for four years. His leadership and many achievements over the course of his decades-long tenure at SKO are at the foundation of the firm’s Legal Horsepower™.

A highly experienced trial attorney, Bill is a Member of the Business Litigation practice, with a focus on disputes and challenges relating to Equine, Eminent Domain & Real Estate, and Trust & Estate matters. He also assists clients through the Real Estate and Government Relations practice groups.

Bill has the distinction of being named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America® from 2012-2014. Earlier in his career, from 1985-1994, he was a state representative in the Kentucky General Assembly, and was recognized by the governor with the inaugural Economic Development Leadership Award.

Bill has long been active in the community and currently serves as a trustee of Keeneland Association and a board member of Commonwealth Seed Capital LLC. He is a past Chair of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce, and has been inducted into the Kentucky Economic Development Hall of Fame, the University of Kentucky Law School Hall of Fame, and the Bluegrass Business Leaders Hall of Fame. In addition to his position with Keeneland, Bill serves the Thoroughbred industry as Vice-Chairman and member of the Board of Stewards of The Jockey Club.

Business Litigation: Bill represents clients throughout Kentucky in complex commercial and equine litigation. An example of his work within this practice includes his success in defending numerous landowners in negotiations and trial proceedings with multiple state entities in connection with road projects.

Real Estate: Working with clients from a variety of industries, including national and regional retailers, Bill concentrates on real estate litigation, planning and zoning.

Government Relations: Bill’s accomplished background in the public sector, along with his extensive contributions to the state’s economic and workforce development, makes him well suited to represent the interests of individual clients and large corporations before various government agencies.

Education
University of Kentucky College of Law
1975, J.D., High Distinction
Davidson College
1972, B.A.
Admissions
Kentucky
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky

Recognition

  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Best Lawyers in America®, 1989-present
  • Kentucky Super Lawyer, Land Use/Zoning
  • Editor-in-Chief, Kentucky Law Journal
  • Order of the Coif
  • Order of the Barristers
  • Governor's Economic Development Leadership Award
  • Kentucky Medical Association Layperson of the Year
  • Economic Development Award of the American Council on Economic Development Sponsor of House Bill 89, which restructured Kentucky's Economic Development Cabinet
  • Kentucky Economic Development Hall of Fame
  • University of Kentucky College of Law Hall of Fame
  • Junior Achievement Business Leaders Hall of Fame
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Affiliations

  • Fayette County Bar Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Keeneland Association, trustee
  • The Jockey Club Board of Stewards
  • Business Leader Champions for Education
  • Lexington Strides Ahead Foundation, board member
  • Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, chairman
  • Commonwealth Seed Capital Corporation, Board of Managers
  • The Speed Art Museum, board of governors
  • State Representative, Kentucky General Assembly, 1985-1994
  • Economic Development Committee, State Legislature, former chair
  • Commerce and Economic Development Committee, National Conference of State Legislatures,former chair
  • European Workforce Training & Business Assistance Study Tour-NCSL, delegation leader
  • Kentucky Investing in People Taskforce, former co-chair
  • Governors Tax Policy Commission, former co-chair
  • Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce, former chair
  • Lexington United, former chair
  • Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, former board member
  • Kentucky World Trade Center, former board member
  • Economic Advancement Task Force, former chair
  • Lexington Downtown Development Authority, founding chairman
  • Downtown Lexington Corporation, former board member
  • Sayre School, Former board member
  • United Way of the Bluegrass, former board member
  • LexTran, former board chair
  • Lexington-Fayette County Urban Renewal Commission, former board chair
  • Lexington Partnership for Workforce Development, former chair
  • Davidson College Alumni Association, president, 2012
  • Davidson College Board of Trustees, member, 2011-2012
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Work Highlights

Building Dispute/Injunctive Relief

Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc. v. Saul Subsidiary I Limited Partnership, Ky. App., 159 S.W.3d 339 (2005)

Represented owner of Lexington Mall and obtained injunction requiring Home Depot to remove its store and restore the Mall structure because Home Depot violated restrictive covenants; case settled.

Zone Change for Mixed-Use Development

SKO obtained a zone change and all related development plan approvals for a national Retail Outfitter and Mixed-Use Development in Lexington.

Real Estate Litigation

SKO obtained a summary judgment at Fayette Circuit Court for a zone change appeal filed by protesting neighbors to a zone change and new development.

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