William B. (Bill) Bardenwerper has been listed in “Best Lawyers in America” for 17 consecutive years and received its “Lawyer of the Year” honors in 2016 – 2019 for his land development and land use litigation practice.
Following graduation from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law, Bill spent a year at the Law School as assistant to former Dean Marlin Volz before moving to the Administration of the new Jefferson County Executive, Mitch McConnell, who he helped elect to office. He remained for the balance of McConnell’s two terms in office, serving as Jefferson County’s Director of Intergovernmental Affairs (in which capacity, among other things, he handled Louisville and Jefferson County affairs in Washington DC as well as city/county relations, authored the County’s “Overall Economic Development Plan” and “Southwest Economic Development Strategy” and helped secure major funding for such projects as the Jefferson Riverport and Louisville Galleria). He simultaneously served as Special Counsel to McConnell, responsible for criminal justice planning and his Statewide Task Force on Exploited and Missing Children, a national model which led to the “National Center”, established by President Reagan under the same name, led for decades by a team of Louisvillians.
After a couple of years with the then Louisville law firm Rice, Porter & Seiller, Bill began a 30-year career as Managing Member of the firm (now) Bardenwerper, Talbott & Roberts, PLLC, initially practicing general corporate law (mostly representing large health care companies) and for 25 years devoting his practice to land use and land development law, in which capacity he has contributed significantly to the economic development and growth of the greater Louisville metro area. As such, he has represented many national and regional and most local builders and developers, representing billions of dollars of investment in business parks, manufacturing plants and distribution warehouses, hospitals and healthcare facilities, shopping centers, condominiums, apartment communities, and residential subdivisions that include thousands of homes. During the Great Recession, he represented many banks in the repositioning of their troubled assets.
Assisted by a team of experienced lawyers and paralegals, Bill’s work has included the preparation of PSAs, quarterbacking rezoning, site plan and other entitlement proposals and reviews, the successful defense of opposition filed government approval appeals, preparation of CCRs and condo documents, and land acquisition and development loan financings. In the process of all this, Bill has presented at several thousand neighborhood meetings, planning commission and board of adjustment evidentiary hearings around Kentucky, and both nonjury trials and appellate proceedings.
Specifically as respects Bill’s and his law firm’s principal practice areas today, over the years Bill has served on or as chairman of numerous special committees and task forces dealing with local development processes — for example, leading the local Chamber’s partnership with local governments to draft a brand new 2020 Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code to coincide with the newly merged Louisville and Jefferson County governments. As part of that successful merger, Bill also served on the County Attorney’s Consolidated Local Government Legal Task Force and as Chairman of its Land Use Subcommittee. Eleven years later, with the election of a new Metro Mayor, Bill served on his Transition Team, drafted his SWAT Analysis for reform of the Department of Planning and Design Services, served on his Planning and Design Services Audit Committee, and later served on his new 2040 Comprehensive Plan drafting committee.
For 5 years, Bill served as a volunteer Board Member and on the Executive Committee of the Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce (now Greater Louisville, Inc., aka GLI) with specific responsibility for overseeing its land use, transportation, environmental and governmental affairs programs. For a number of years, Bill also served on the Board of Directors of the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency.
Bill is active in the Building Industry Association (BIA) of Greater Louisville, serving for many years as a volunteer Board Member. In 1995 and 2002, he received the annual BIA “Associate (non-builder) of the Year Award” and in 2014 received the commercial real estate industry’s annual March of Dimes-benefitted “Real Estate Achievement Award”.
Bill’s professional services activities have also included Chairman of the Louisville Bar Association’s Real Estate and Zoning Section, Co-Chair of its “Committee of the Year” CLE Institute, and Editor-in-Chief of its Louisville Lawyer magazine.
Bill’s other volunteer community activities have included 9 years service as Mayor of the suburban city of Hurstbourne; founding Board Member of Kentuckiana Crime Stoppers; Board Chairman of the Louisville Gardens Arena; and President of Hurstbourne Rotary Club.
Bill has also served as an adjunct faculty member teaching land use law to Ph.D and Masters Degree students in the Department of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Louisville and has lectured widely on land use and development law issues. For years he was the general editor of four volumes of law books, Kentucky Methods of Practice (published by West Publishing Co, long the nation’s leader in legal publishing, now a part of Thompson Reuters). He has also authored two books, one on Kentucky Land Use and Zoning Law (published by West) and the other titled The Louisville Model about lawyer referral and Information (published by the American Bar Association) as well as chapters on other topics in multiple volumes of West’s Federal Practice Manual.
In addition to U of L’s Brandeis School of Law (where he served as President of the Student Bar Association, as Editor-in-Chief of the Louisville Law Examiner, and Director of the Louisville Law Forum), Bill is also a graduate of the University of Virginia (where he majored in government and foreign affairs and served as Executive Editor of the Cavalier Daily). Admitted to practice 45 years ago in Kentucky and Wisconsin and before various federal courts, Bill currently serves in an Of-Counsel capacity to the law firm he founded 36 years ago.
Although today a legal resident of South Carolina where he recently completed a 3-year term on the Beaufort Metro Planning Commission, Bill splits his time between there and Louisville where he periodically assists the law firm’s lawyers on cases, still consults with some longstanding clients, and (wholly apart from that) leads a start-up venture developing an invention employing A.I. benefitting the trucking industry. When not doing these things, Bill plays golf, follows politics, reads books on political leaders and world affairs, and with his wife Gail enjoys travel, their community, family, and friends.