William F. Dow III
Willie Dow is one of Connecticut's most experienced and effective criminal defense lawyers. For more than 15 years he has been listed in "The Best Lawyers in America." He has been recognized by Connecticut Magazine as a "Superlawyer" from 2006 to 2015. In 2008 and 2009 he was voted by his peers as the top attorney in Connecticut.
Willie was born in New Haven and grew up in Stony Creek, Connecticut. He attended Yale University and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, he worked for two years with legal services programs in Florida and Washington, D.C. He then served with the Public Defender Service in the District of Columbia for four years, ultimately serving as Chief of the Juvenile Court Division. He returned to Connecticut as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut before entering private practice in New Haven.
Willie's practice focuses on criminal and white collar defense in both state and federal courts. He has represented clients in cases ranging from homicide and crimes of violence, drug offenses and theft, to sophisticated white collar litigation. He has defended individuals and organizations in the trial courts and has argued appeals in the Connecticut Supreme and Appellate Courts and the Federal Courts of Appeals in the Second, Third and District of Colombia Circuits.
Willie has been a Lecturer in Trial Practice at the Yale Law School for more than 30 years. For the last ten years he has co-taught a course on Forensic Science at the Quinnipiac University Law School with Drs. Henry Lee and Elaine Pagliaro. He is a Fellow of the America College of Trial Lawyers. He has previously been appointed by the Governor to the Judicial Selection Committee and serves a member of the Connecticut Judicial Branch Criminal Division Task Force. He has been Chair of the Executive Committee of the Section for the Administration of Criminal Justice of the Connecticut Bar Association and was a two-term President of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He has also served on the Drafting Committee of the Evidence Code adopted by the Judges of the Superior Court. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Federal Practice Section of the Connecticut Bar Association. He was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court to the Client Security Fund. For the past 20 years he has co-chaired the annual Criminal Litigation Seminar sponsored by the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association.
Willie's clients include the former Governor of the State of Connecticut whom he represented in impeachment proceedings before the Connecticut State Legislature and in a federal criminal prosecution; numerous attorneys, judges and physicians in disciplinary proceedings; and corporations and organizations that have been the target of state and federal investigations. Willie also regularly represents college students and university employees accused of crimes or involved in disciplinary proceedings.
Willie has tried to verdict more than 100 criminal cases. He secured a complete acquittal in a high-profile white-collar prosecution brought by the Connecticut United States Attorneys Office. His client, an environmental remediation company, was found not guilty on all eighteen counts of a mail fraud/wire fraud indictment after a three week jury trial in the US District Court in Bridgeport. Early in 2011, together with attorney Rosemarie Payne, Willie secured an acquittal in a murder trial in which the State prosecuted a twenty year old "unsolved" killing based on DNA found on the clothing of the victim. Willie also obtained a not guilty verdict on a charge of sexual assault before a jury in New Haven Superior Court, prevailed on two additional sexual assault claims before disciplinary bodies at a local university, and secured a dismissal on a highly publicized flag burning incident. He also secured a new trial for a teacher accused of risk of injury in a computer pop-ups case that received national media attention.
Most recently Willie secured a not guilty verdict after a jury trial in a motor vehicle homicide case. He also convinced the state to dismiss all charges in a high-profile First Degree Assault case by providing evidence of his client's complete innocence, and obtained a dismissal as well for a defendant who had been wrongfully accused of a narcotics transaction. He also secured a dismissal of disciplinary charges against an attorney. In October 2013 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the New Haven County Bar Association.
Widely admired for his courtroom skills, Willie is also regarded as a seasoned and effective negotiator who has gained the trust of prosecutors and judges in both state and federal courts. His negotiating skills and creative solutions to seemingly unwinnable cases have benefited his clients throughout Connecticut.
In addition to a trial and teaching practice, Willie writes a regular column for the New Haven County Bar Association publication, Marble Columns.
Click here to read Willie's articles on Criminal Law.
Areas of Practice
- 85% Criminal Law
- 5% Administrative Law
- 5% Professional Responsibility
- 5% Miscellaneous
- 95% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
- Florida, 1968
- Connecticut, 1969
- District of Columbia, 1969
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 1969
- U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, 1969
- U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, 1970
- U.S. District Court District of Connecticut, 1974
- U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, 1975
- U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 1977
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1981
- U.S. District Court District of Vermont, 1995
- University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- LL.B. - 1968
- Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
- B.A. - 1963
- Major: Political Science
- Clisham v. Board of Police Commissioners, 223 Conn. 354, 613 A.2d 254 (1992)
- State of Connecticut v. Morrissey, 216 Conn. 185, 577 A.2d 1060 (1990)
- United States v. Dennis, 843 F. 2d 652 (2d Cir. 1988)
- Tsokalas v. Purtill, 756 F. Supp. 89 (D. Conn. 1991)
- Rauccio v. Frank, 750 F. Supp. 566 (D. Conn. 1990)
- State of Connecticut v. Milum, 197 Conn. 602, 500 A.2d 555 (1985)
- Williams v. Warden, Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury, Connecticut, 470 F. Supp. 1123 (D. Conn. 1979)
- Tutor in Law, Yale Law School, 1976 - Present
- Criminal Practice Seminar, Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, 1980 - Present
- Miscellaneous Seminars, Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association & Connecticut Bar Association
- Adjunct Faculty, Quinnipiac University Law School, 1999 - Present
Honors and Awards
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
- Fellow, American Board of Criminal Lawyers
- Charter Fellow, Connecticut Bar Foundation
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the Areas of White Collar and Non-White Collar Criminal Defense Representation
- Listed in Superlawyers for Connecticut from 2006 to 2015
Professional Associations and Memberships
- American Bar Association, Member
- Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, Member
- Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, President, 1990 - 1992
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member
- Federal Bar Council, Member
- Connecticut Bar Association, Member, Federal Judiciary Committee
- Superior Court Criminal Division Task Force, Member, 1993 - Present
- Judicial Selection Committee, Member, 1993 - 1998
- Second Circuit Committee on Admissions and Grievances, Member, 1983 - 1993
- Reappointment of Federal Public Defender for the District of Connecticut, Chair, Merit Review Panel, 2000
- Task Force on Post-Verdict Interviews of Juries, Member, 1996
- New Haven County Bar Association, Member, Executive Committee, 1999 - Present
- New Haven County Bar Association, Member, Committee for Development Opportunities for Minority Lawyers, 1990 - Present
- New Haven County Bar Association, Member, Continuing Legal Education Committee, 1994 - Present
- Connecticut Bar Association, Secretary, Executive Committee, 1989 - 1991
- Connecticut Bar Association, Chair, Executive Committee, 1992 - 1994
- Connecticut Bar Association, Section for Administration of Criminal Justice, Member, 1991
- Connecticut Bar Association, Co-Chairman, Trial Advocacy Seminar Program Committee, 1979
- Connecticut Bar Association, Secretary, Special Committee on Certification of Specialists, 1981
- Connecticut Bar Association, Member, Court Rules Advisory Committee, 1991 - Present
- Connecticut Bar Association, Member, Committee on Liaison with State Courts, 1991 - 1994
- Connecticut Bar Association, Federal Practice Section, Member, 1988 - Present
- Connecticut Bar Association, Member, Executive Committee, 1995 - Present
- Connecticut Bar Association, Chair, Criminal Practice Subcommittee; Awards Committee
- The District of Columbia Bar, Member, Committee for Revision of Criminal Jury Instructions for D.C., 1972
Past Employment Positions
- Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia, Trial Attorney, 1970 - 1973
- Public Defender for the District of Columbia, Staff Attorney, 1970 - 1974
- Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia, Chief, Juvenile Division, 1973 - 1974
- Office of the US Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Assistant US Attorney, 1974 - 1976
- Public Defender Services Commission, Chair, 1992 - 1994
- Connecticut Law Review Commission, Member, Evidence Code Drafting Committee, 1995 - 1998