Get to Know William Ladd


by Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Bill Ladd is a 1970 graduate of Swarthmore College and a 1979 graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. He has spent his entire career in  the protection of the rights of children, first with the Juvenile Defender Office/Legal Aid and Defender Association in Detroit and currently with the Michigan Children’s Law Center.

He has been the attorney on many of this State’s major legal battles involving the rights of children in foster care including being the “next friend” on the federal lawsuit involving the rights of child in foster care placement, Dwayne B vs. Snyder.

Ladd is one of a handful of attorneys certified as an expert in child abuse/neglect in Michigan by the National Association of Counsel for Children. He has been active with the Children’s Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan as a current counsel member and past chair.

On November 10, he was recognized by the State Court Administrator’s Office Foster Care Review Board with the “Children’s Attorney of the Year” award, receiving acknowledgement from state Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young , and presented by Judge Elizabeth Gleicher of the Michigan Court of Appeals.

He is a frequent lecturer/trainer, both locally and nationally, has authored law reviews, served on state court committees regarding the role of counsel for children and is an adjunct professor, formerly at Wayne State University Law School and currently at the Detroit Mercy Law. There, in 2012, he received the Adjunct Professor of the Year Award with his wife and also adjunct professor, retired 3rd Circuit Court Juvenile Referee Jennifer Pilette. The couple lives in Ann Arbor where he is the father of three adult children, stepfather of four, and grandfather of 12.

Why did you become a lawyer? Because I enjoy confronting people on issues that matter.

What’s your favorite law-related TV show, movie, and/or book? “Judgment at Nuremberg.”

Who are your law role models – real and/or fictional? Thurgood Marshall.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school?  Do not be intimidated by it.

What’s your proudest moment as a lawyer? Prevailing in In re AMB when the Michigan appellate courts acknowledged my minor client had been illegally removed from life support.

What do you do to relax? Watch ESPN.

What other career path might you have chosen? High school history teacher.

Favorite local hangouts? Marble Brewery at our second home in Albuquerque, N.M.

Favorite websites? The New Yorker and the New York Times.

What do you wish someone would invent? A time machine.

What has been your favorite year so far and why? 2004-2005, when I married my wife and we traveled to Europe.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been? Alaska.

What’s one thing you would like to learn to do?
Speak Spanish.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, and Alexander Hamilton.

Favorite way to spend money?  Travel

Which living person do you most admire?
  My wife, Jennifer Pilette, for all she has been able to accomplish in her life.

What is the most unusual thing you have done?  Toured Europe as part of a rock band after college.