William R. Rakes

William R. Rakes (Roanoke, Virginia)

William R. Rakes

Attorney in Roanoke, VA
William Rakes is a senior Partner with Gentry Locke. Bill served for more than 20 years as Managing Partner, during which the firm grew from nine attorneys to its current scale of more than 50. He presently chairs the firm's Banking and Finance Group. His practice consists of advising banks and other financial entities on governance, regulatory and securities matters, and handling commercial litigation matters for a wide range of businesses. Bill is a fellow in The American College of Trial Lawyers and in The American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He has served as President of the Virginia State Bar and on the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association. Bill is consistently noted as a Virginia Super Lawyer in Business Litigation and is recognized among the Best Lawyers in America in several categories, including Antitrust Law, Appellate Practice, Banking and Finance Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, Financial Services Regulation Law, Litigation - Banking and Finance, and Litigation - Mergers and Acquisitions.

A quick handshake

•Trials, and scores of appeals
•Practice areas noted for by by Best Lawyers in America
•Years at this firm
•Children and grandchildren
Had you not chosen law, what career might you have pursued?

I considered nothing but law. I was on the high school debate team; I liked speaking; I watched Perry Mason; and the man I most admired in our community (aside from my father) was a lawyer. All of this had a great influence on my career choice.
You take great pride in the work you do. Tell us what this firm means to you.

We are a law firm made up of real people with a strong diversity of services. One thing we all focus on is being a great law firm that puts our clients at the forefront. I take enormous pride and pleasure in the quality of the lawyers and the reputation the firm has earned.
What advice do you share with new lawyers joining the firm?

There is no substitute for thorough preparation.
What is the most important step in your morning routine that you try to never skip?

I may skip a lot of things, including breakfast on occasion, but I never skip putting on a necktie.


•Represented world's largest computer manufacturer in patent infringement litigation involving its software effecting international sales over the Internet
•Represented international chemical manufacturer on product related litigation
•Represented Fortune 500 manufacturing company in defense of securities fraud class action litigation
•Represented contract coal mining company against large coal processor and mineral rights owner in contract and fraud litigation
•Represented corporation in shareholder dispute over sale of company which resulted in Supreme Court of Virginia rejecting the Delaware “Revlon Rule”
•Represented officers and directors of failed life insurance company on their claim for indemnification which was upheld by Supreme Court of Virginia
•Represented approximately 100 royalty holders in litigation against coal bed methane gas operating company resulting in recovery of over 13 million dollars - largest jury verdict on record in U.S. District Court for Western District of Virginia
•Represented seller of automobile dealership in litigation brought by prospective purchaser with favorable result on appeal
•Represented hospital in suit against county on tax status with favorable result on appeal
•Defended lawyer who was sole beneficiary of a client's estate in litigation brought by a church which claimed to be the beneficiary under a prior will
•Defended executor and primary beneficiary in estate litigation. Successful appeal to Virginia Supreme Court
•Trial and appeal of case involving explosion wherein Virginia Supreme Court rejected the offensive use of collateral estoppel
•On-going representation of banks and other companies on business, governance and regulatory issues


•Inaugural recipient of the William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award established by The Section on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia of the Virginia State Bar (2012)
•Listed as a Local Litigation Star by Benchmark Appellate (2012-2013)
•Recipient, Frank W. “Bo” Rogers, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award, Roanoke Bar Association (2010)
•Named “Best Lawyers Roanoke Lawyer of the Year - Banking” (2009, 2013), “Best Lawyers Roanoke Lawyer of the Year - Appellate” (2014), and “Best Lawyers Roanoke Lawyer of the Year - Bet-the-Company Litigation” (2014)
•Repeatedly named one of The Best Lawyers in America in Antitrust Law (2003-2016), Appellate Practice (2011-2016), Banking and Finance Law (2011-2016), Bet-the-Company Litigation (2010-2016), Commercial Litigation (1993-2016), Corporate Law (2006-2016), Financial Services Regulation Law (2011-2016), Banking & Finance Litigation (2011-2016), and Mergers & Acquisitions Litigation (2011-2016)
•Named a Top Rated Lawyer for Commercial Litigation, Business & Commercial, Appellate law by American Lawyer Media (2013)
•Designated one of the “FrontList 2008 Best of Business” by Valley Business Front magazine
•Named “Leader in the Law” by Virginia Lawyers Weekly (2007)
•Named to Virginia Super Lawyers in the area of Business Litigation (2007-2015), included in Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel edition (2010) and Super Lawyers Business Edition US in the area of Business Litigation (2012-2014)
•Designated as one of the Legal Elite in the Civil Litigation field by Virginia Business magazine
•Named a “Legal Eagle” for Antitrust Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, Litigation - Banking & Finance, and Litigation - Mergers & Acquisitions by Virginia Living magazine (2012)

Published Work

The Care and Feeding of Directors in Uncertain Times: What Directors Expect from their Bank Management; Virginia Association of Community Banks, September 2008
Law Schools Must Act on Commitment to Diversity; ABA Student Lawyer, May 2007
Multidisciplinary Practice: A Paradigm Shift from Client Protection; Virginia Lawyer, April 2002
Mediation of the Business Divorce; Virginia Lawyer, July 1997
Conclaves on Legal Education: Catalyst for Improvement of the Profession; 72 Notre Dame Law Review 1119, 1997
Ethics and Professionalism: Starting in the Law Schools; Virginia Lawyer, October 1996


•23 Gentry Locke Attorneys Named to 2016 “Best Lawyers in America”

Aug 2015
•28 Gentry Locke Attorneys Named 2015 Virginia Super Lawyers

Apr 2015
•13 Gentry Locke Attorneys Featured in 2014 Super Lawyers US Business Edition

Nov 2014
•Twenty-One Gentry Locke Attorneys Earn Best Lawyers Designations and One Lawyer of the Year

Aug 2014
•Ten Recurring Themes and Techniques in Defending Breach of Contract Cases

Jun 2014
•27 Gentry Locke Attorneys Named to Lists of 2014 Virginia Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Jun 2014
•Thirteen Gentry Locke Attorneys Named to Super Lawyers Business Edition US

Nov 2013
•Twenty-two Attorneys named to 2014 Best Lawyers in America list; Firm Ranked in Tier 1 for Best Law Firms

Aug 2013
•Twenty-five Gentry Locke Attorneys Named to Virginia Super Lawyers for 2013

Jun 2013
•2013 Top Rated Lawyers at Gentry Locke

Oct 2012
•Three Gentry Locke Attorneys Named 2013 Roanoke Lawyer of the Year

Oct 2012
•Super Lawyers Business Edition US Lists Thirteen Gentry Locke Attorneys

Sep 2012
•Twenty-four Gentry Locke Attorneys Named Best Lawyers

Sep 2012
•Twenty-four Gentry Locke Attorneys Named to Virginia Super Lawyers for 2012

Jun 2012
•Gentry Locke Attorneys Listed in 37 Legal Eagle Categories

Apr 2012
•Gentry Locke Involved with First Significant E-Discovery Decision in Western Virginia

Feb 2007

540-983-9374 540-983-9374
Credit Cards Accepted
Client Rating N/A
Peer Rating 5.0 of 5

Areas of Law

Areas of Law
  • Banking
  • Appellate
  • Business Litigation
  • Business & Corporate
  • Trusts
  • Estates & Related Litigation
  • Regulatory Compliance & Enforcement
  • Banking & Lender Liability
  • Administrative & Regulatory Disputes
  • Director & Officer Liability
  • Shareholder Disputes
  • Securities Litigation
  • Executive & Professional Contracts
  • Securities
  • Antitrust
  • Commercial Torts
  • Consumer Protection
  • I.P. & Technology Litigation
  • Unfair Business Competition & Trade Secrets
  • Counseling & Training
  • Employment & Non-Compete Agreements
  • State Law Claims (Contracts/Torts)
  • Termination Issues (RIFs/WARN/Releases)
  • Trade Secret and Non-Compete Disputes
  • Estate Planning
  • Commercial Insurance Claims
  • Fiduciary & Estate Litigation

Peer Rating

Peer Rating

Overall Peer Rating

5.0 out of 5.0
  • Meets very high criteria of general ethical standards
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Experience & Credentials

Firm Details
Admission Details
Admitted in 1963, Virginia
Credit Cards Accepted
Additional Payment Information
Fixed Hourly Rates
Fixed Fees Available
Law School Attended
University of Virginia School of Law
Class of 1963
University Attended
University of Virginia
Class of 1960
Associations & Memberships


•Chair, Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, American Bar Association (2006-07)
•Board of Governors, American Bar Association (1998-2001)
•Co-founder and President, Ted Dalton American Inn of Court (2005-07)
•Co-founder, Chairman of the Board and General Counsel, Hometown Bank
•Chair, American National Lawyers Insurance Reciprocal (ANLIR) (1996-98); Board (1993-2001)
•President, Virginia State Bar (1992-93)
•President, Roanoke Bar Association (1977-78)
•Chair, Legal Education Conclave Planning Committee, Virginia State Bar (1991-92)
•Chair, Special Committee to Study Lawyer Financial Responsibility, Virginia State Bar (1986-88)
•Chair, Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board (1983-94)
•Chair, Sixth District Disciplinary Committee, Virginia State Bar (1974-75)
•fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
•fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
•fellow, Scribes (Honorary Society for Writers on Legal Subjects)
•fellow, American Bar Foundation
•fellow, Virginia Law Foundation

Bar Fellowship
Virginia Law Foundation

Community Contributions

Community Contributions
Articles Blogs Q&A

Contact Information

Contact Information
Firm Address
Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP
SunTrust Plaza, 10 Franklin Road SE, Suite 900,
Roanoke, VA 24011
Office Information
Office Information
William R. Rakes
Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP
SunTrust Plaza, 10 Franklin Road SE, Suite 900,
Roanoke, VA 24011

Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP (Roanoke, Virginia)