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William D. Purnell

William D. Purnell


Will Purnell defends consumer products, heavy construction and industrial equipment manufacturers as well as environmental services companies against toxic torts such as alleged asbestos exposure and talc claims, multiparty product liability claims and environmental claims.

Before joining Bowman and Brooke, Will served as assistant general counsel of litigation and claims (including warranty matters) at two global manufacturers of industrial products and HVAC and temperature management equipment for residential and commercial applications. He also served as corporate counsel for litigation at a global heavy equipment manufacturer. His work involved advising on commercial litigation, bankruptcy litigation, e-discovery, personal injury matters, records management and product liability for these companies – including mass torts, premises liability and environmental claims and class actions – as well as extensive interaction with C-suite executive teams and insurers providing counsel on global risk management and legal spend.  He also has extensive experience conducting arbitration, mediation and settlement negotiations in North America and abroad. He has been recognized for collaborating with companies to develop strategies focused on creating greater efficiency that result in the reduction of claims inventory, indemnity spend and defense costs.   
Will is committed to advancing diversity in the legal profession and is a frequent speaker on how to support and advance the careers of women and people of color in law firms and corporate law departments. 

In his free time, Will enjoys mentoring youth and coaching youth football and basketball.

Bar Admissions

  • Mississippi, 2003
  • Arizona, 2022

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Mississippi
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi


  • Vanderbilt University Law School, J.D., 2003

    Moot Court

    Legal Aid Society

    Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) Black Law Students Association

    Vanderbilt in Venice Program 2002

  • Tougaloo College, B.A., 2000

    Tougaloo College Honor Society

    Ambassador of Merit Scholar

    Staff Journalist

    Major: English Journalism

Professional Associations

    • International Association of Defense Counsel
    • Defense Research Institute
    • Product Liability Advisory Council
    • The National Black Lawyers


    • The Legal 500
      —Named in Litigation: Product Liability Defense, Toxic Tort, 2022 – 2023
    • The National Black Lawyers Association
      —Top 100, 2021 – 2023
    • Lawyers of Color
      —Nation's Best, 2019 Honoree

Recent News, Events and Blogs

Speaking Engagements

  • "Fostering a Diverse Equitable and Inclusive Work Environment," Panelist, Perrin Webinar, January 2022
  • “Engineering Analysis for Product Recall Decisions,” Co-Presenter, PLAC Webinar, December 2021
  • “The Insurer and Policyholder Relationship and Its Impact on the Asbestos Litigation,” Presenter, Perrin National Asbestos Litigation Conference, September 2020
  • "Changing the Paradigm: Interrupting Bias to Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the TTEL Bar,” Presenter, Defense Research Institute Toxic Torts and Environmental Law, February 2020
  • “In-House Counsel Roundtable,” Presenter, The Defense Asbestos Litigation Seminar, June 2019
  • “High Stakes Litigation: Same Actors, Different Script,” Presenter, International Association of Defense Counsel, February 2018