From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Davis, William L.

William L. Davis, from Lexington, KY, was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court as an Attorney and Counselor at Law on January 12, 1981. This is confirmed in the body of the Letter of Confirmation from the Supreme Court of the United States, Office of the Clerk. 03/17/2016.

He was the first African American to serve as Director of Administrative Law and Civil Litigation Branch of the Division of General Legal Services of the Attorney General's Office. On October 22, 1984, he received a thank you letter for his services from Ms. Nileen Verbeten, Executive Director of Kentucky Home Health Association. 

He was also the first African American to serve as the Assistant Deputy Attorney General/Director in the Kentucky Attorney General's Office (AG), 1985-1987. He was first to head a division within the AG Office. William L. Davis was over the Uninsured Employer's Fund within the Kentucky Attorney General's Office. The division had been created January 1, 1973 by KRS 342.760. The function of the division was to represent the Uninsured Employers' Fund in all proceedings brought by employees to enforce claims against or on behalf of the Fund.

William L. Davis was the first African American to serve as a United States Air Force Captain/Assistant Staff Judge Advocate of the 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph Air force Base, Texas 1978-1979, which included being the first African American Trial Prosecutor and Chief of Civil Law. He was admitted to practice law as an attorney & counselor in the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces on May 5, 1978.

In 1981, William L. Davis was sworn in as an Assistant Attorney General in the Supreme Court of Kentucky. He also served as the attorney for the Kentucky Board of Barbering up to 1985. 

William L. Davis has been in private practice as a civil rights attorney since 1987 in Lexington, Kentucky.

William L. Davis earned his Master of Theological Studies in 2008 from Asbury Theological Seminary.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1974 from Berea College, and his Juris Doctor in 1977 from the University of Kentucky College of Law. He was the first African American graduate of the UK College of Law to receive the Reginald Huber Smith Fellowship for Lawyers sponsored by Howard University, Washington, D.C. in May 1977; and the first to be listed in Marquis Who's Who in American Law (2nd Edition 1979). 

*The references for this entry were provided by William L. Davis. Contact William L. Davis for more information on his career and contributions.


Davis, William L. "Children born out of wedlock: their time has come," Kentucky Bench & Bar, v.49, no.2, 04/1985.

Davis, William L. "Recent developments in persistent felony offender cases," Kentucky Bench & Bar, v.46, no.3, 07/1982. 

Letter of confirmation from the Supreme Court of the United States, Office of the Clerk. 03/17/2016. 

Oath of Office Order, Supreme Court of Kentucky. 08/20/1981. William L. Davis named Assistant Attorney General.

Thank you for your services letter addressed to William L. Davis from the Kentucky Board of Barbering, 03/19/1985.

Kentucky County & Region

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Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
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Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Kentucky bench & bar (periodical)
NKAA Source: Who's who in American law

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Davis, William L.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 13, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-08-05 15:56:27