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K&L Gates Mourns Passing of Longtime Partner and Humanitarian William H. Gates, Sr.

15 September 2020

Seattle - Global law firm K&L Gates LLP joins the Seattle and world communities in mourning the death of philanthropist and lawyer William H. Gates, Sr., a name partner of K&L Gates.

“It’s an especially sad day for us at K&L Gates as we grieve the loss of a man whose name remains a prominent part of our firm’s own name,” commented K&L Gates Global Managing Partner Jim Segerdahl. “When Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham combined with Preston Gates & Ellis more than a dozen years ago, it was an easy decision to maintain the Gates name in recognition of the vast contributions Bill had made—and would continue to make—as a lawyer, humanitarian, and philanthropist, and in light of his high standards for professional excellence and integrity. His impact on our firm, the legal profession, the Seattle region, and the world cannot be overstated and will be long remembered. We offer our sincerest condolences to his family, as well as to the many friends he and his family have made around the world.”

Gates began his distinguished career in private practice in Seattle in 1951, joining with two other lawyers to create the partnership of Shidler McBroom & Gates in 1964. That firm combined with the Preston law firm to become known as Preston Gates & Ellis LLP, and continues today as K&L Gates LLP. Extending his contributions beyond his own corporate, technology, and disputes law practice, Gates served as president of both the King County Bar Association and the Washington State Bar Association, as well as of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, and was a longtime state delegate to the American Bar Association, which awarded Gates its highest honor, the ABA Medal, in 2009.

Since retiring from the practice of law, Gates served as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he helped guide the foundation’s vision and strategic direction, and continued to be a strong advocate for such issues as education, technology, and the worldwide fight against poverty.

Pallavi Mehta Wahi, current managing partner of K&L Gates’ Seattle office and co-managing partner for the United States, and David K.Y. Tang, K&L Gates’ managing partner, Asia, who served as managing partner of Preston Gates & Ellis at the time of Gates’ retirement from the active practice of law at the firm, stated: “We are deeply honored to have been law partners with Bill Gates, Sr. He was an inspirational leader of the firm and our friend. We are very proud to continue to bear his name as part of our own. Bill’s work as a lawyer, community leader, and humanitarian has set and will continue to set the professional standard for us all, and we are forever beholden to him and his family for the lives they collectively have touched through their work over the decades.”

K&L Gates is a fully integrated global law firm with lawyers located across five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals.

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