William D. (Bill) Treeby In Memoriam
The entire Stone Pigman law firm mourns the loss of our colleague of 55 years, William D. (Bill) Treeby.
Bill Treeby spent his entire legal career with the firm. Bill graduated from Tulane University Law School in 1966, where he was selected for Order of the Coif and the Tulane Law Review Board of Editors. He joined the firm as an associate in 1966.
Bill was an outstanding litigator. He was a formidable and tenacious advocate for the firm's clients and represented them zealously. He achieved outstanding results. As one partner whose office was located near Bill's in her early career said: "At the time I thought that if I ever needed legal help, I would want a lawyer like Bill."
The following is an example of Bill's litigation ability. In 2012, Bill represented a large contractor being sued along with the Army Corps of Engineers for levee failures on the Industrial Canal after Hurricane Katrina. The firm had been hired as local counsel by a large national law firm. After witnessing Bill's skills, the client asked Bill to take the lead in the matter and trial, rather than serve as local counsel. Bill's tenaciousness in a complicated, lengthy matter that concluded with a trial in federal court, allowed the firm to prevail on behalf of its client.
From the firm's perspective, one of Bill's greatest successes was representing the firm after Hurricane Katrina and obtaining a highly favorably business interruption settlement from the firm's insurer after the insurer previously denied the claim. For good reason, the firm selected Bill to advocate for that claim.
Bill more recently became an expert in fiduciary litigation, particularly in the area of estate litigation. He was adept at navigating messy litigation – large or small. He was also excellent at dealing with difficult clients and became a trusted advisor to many.
Bill often was asked to assist various churches with legal issues. He and the firm took on and successfully litigated cases on their behalf. Bill for years was a defacto general counsel for a large, televangelist ministry, advising its leadership on areas of law covering corporate, real estate, construction, employment, tax, licensing, and broadcasting.
Besides practicing law, Bill served in management and leadership positions at the firm. He was a member of the Management Committee for two terms. Bill enjoyed architecture and design, and served on the Building Committee when the firm renovated the former historic New Orleans City Hall Annex at 546 Carondelet Street into a law office, first in 1984 and then in 1990. The firm received a number of awards for the design.
Socially, Bill was the undisputed champ at the firm's annual retreat in the "Who-Can-Stay-Up-the-Latest" competitions, socializing with other lawyers until the sun almost came up. (Some think that this may be due to his moderate alcohol consumption.)
Bill's strong personality hid his generous spirit. He was known for training and providing direct feedback to young lawyers on their work product. Even when some of it was critical, Bill was often the associate's advocate in firm associate review sessions.
Bill Treeby was a strong figure and well-regarded colleague. The firm will miss him. A link to his obituary may be found here.