William C. ‘Bill’ Forbes is a renowned trial lawyer focusing on civil and criminal defense representation. Known for his honest, straight-forward demeanor, Bill has more courtroom experience than most attorneys in West Virginia stemming from his three decades as a trial attorney and extensive background as a prosecutor. In 2004, Bill represented the plaintiffs in what was believed to be the largest jury verdict in Putnam County, West Virginia history, with a jury award of more than $16 million for his clients.
Before establishing Forbes Law Offices in 2001, Bill served as Kanawha County’s Prosecuting Attorney for 12 years focusing on curbing violent crime and political corruption. During his tenure, he personally prosecuted and tried his office’s high-profile and complex cases, including obtaining first-degree murder convictions of Dana December Smith and Ricky Holly, among many others; the successful prosecution of former West Virginia Attorney General Charlie Brown, former West Virginia Circuit Judges John Hey and Joseph Troisi and many other political corruption cases. Bill also launched an investigation of the wrongdoings of West Virginia State Police Lab Serologist Fred Zain whose falsified lab resulted in numerous wrongful convictions.
During that time, he served as Vice-President and Member of the Board of Directors of the National Prosecuting Attorneys Institute (NDAA), President, Vice-President and Member of the Board of Directors of the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Association and was the first Director of the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute, an organization he was instrumental in founding.
Bill has taught criminal justice courses at West Virginia State University; training sessions at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, S.C.; seminars through the National District Attorneys Association; and Continuing Legal Education Courses on cross examination techniques. He’s also been featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes in an interview by Ed Bradley, CBS’s 48 Hours, ESPN’s SportsCentury, HBO Real Sports and America’s Most Wanted, among others programs.
He tried his first jury trials while he was still a law student at Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., working as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Morris Harvey College in Charleston, W.Va.
Bill lives in Charleston with his wife and they have two sons, Jesse and Casey, who are both practicing attorneys. In his spare time, he enjoys weekends at his mountain cabin with his dog Charlie, reading mystery novels. In 2012, he was the Keynote Speaker at the 35th Annual Black Orchid Banquet of the Wolfe Pack, the official Nero Wolfe Society, in New York City. His presentation highlighted the Kanawha Spa investigation in Too Many Cooks, the fifth Nero Wolfe novel, and whether gals spilling ginger ale get the guy.
- West Virginia State Bar
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of West Virginia
- Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
- B.A., Morris Harvey College, Charleston, W.Va.
- Ohio State University Graduate Program
- J.D., Antioch School of Law, Washington, D.C.
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
- American Association for Justice, Member
- West Virginia Association for Justice, Member
- West Virginia State Bar Criminal Law Committee, Member
- Former Prosecuting Attorney, Kanawha County, West Virginia
- Former Vice President, National District Attorneys Association (NDAA)
- Former President, West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Association
- Former Member, West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Association Board of Directors
- Former Vice President, West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Association
- Former Director, West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute
- Former Member, National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) Board of Directors
- Former Member, NDAA Prosecution Management and Standards Committee
- Former Member, West Virginia Mental Health Association Board of Directors
- Former Member, West Virginia Democratic Executive Committee
- Former Member, Kanawha County Democratic Executive Committee