William R. Rakes

Attorney in Roanoke, VA
Bill Rakes is a senior partner with Gentry Locke and served for more than twenty years as managing partner of the Firm. Bill presently chairs the Banking and Finance Group of the firm. 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.

•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

• 13 Gentry Locke Attorneys Featured in 2014 Super Lawyers US Business Edition, 11/21/2014
• Twenty-One Gentry Locke Attorneys Earn Best Lawyers Designations and One Lawyer of the Year, 08/18/2014
• 27 Gentry Locke Attorneys Named to Lists of 2014 Virginia Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, 06/13/2014
• Thirteen Gentry Locke Attorneys Named to Super Lawyers Business Edition US, 11/18/2013
• Twenty-two Attorneys named to 2014 Best Lawyers in America list; Firm Ranked in Tier 1 for Best Law Firms, 08/16/2013
• Twenty-five Gentry Locke Attorneys Named to Virginia Super Lawyers for 2013, 06/14/2013
• Top Rated Lawyers at Gentry Locke, 10/09/2012
• Three Gentry Locke Attorneys Named 2013 Roanoke Lawyer of the Year, 10/01/2012
• Super Lawyers Business Edition US Lists Thirteen Gentry Locke Attorneys, 09/18/2012
• Twenty-four Gentry Locke Attorneys Named Best Lawyers, 09/04/2012
• Twenty-four Gentry Locke Attorneys Named to Virginia Super Lawyers for 2012, 06/15/2012
• Gentry Locke Attorneys Listed in 37 Legal Eagle Categories, 04/16/2012

• Gentry Locke Involved with First Significant E-Discovery Decision in Western Virginia, 02/16/2007

•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 (2003-2015), Appellate Practice (2011-2015), Banking and Finance Law (2011-2015), Bet-the-Company Litigation (2010-2015), Commercial Litigation (1993-2015), Corporate Law (2006-2015), Financial Services Regulation Law (2011-2015), Banking & Finance Litigation (2011-2015), and Mergers & Acquisitions Litigation (2011-2015)
•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 (2007-2014), 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

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Peer Rating 5.0 of 5

Areas of Law

  • Banking & Finance
  • Appellate
  • Complex & Multi-Party Litigation
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Employment & Labor
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Business
  • Estates, Probate & Trust Litigation
  • Construction


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



Admission Details

Admitted in 1963, Virginia

Credit Cards Accepted
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  • 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 Associat... More

    Bar Fellowship

    Scribes (Honorary Society for Writers on Legal Subjects)
    •Fellow, American Bar Foundation
    •Fellow, Virginia Law Foundation

    Contact Information






    Send email to William R. Rakes

    Office Information
    William R. Rakes
    SunTrust Plaza 10 Franklin Road SE, Suite 800,
    Roanoke, VA 24011


    Gentry Locke, LLP (Roanoke, Virginia)

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