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HCTL Spotlight: William Horton

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The HCTL Spotlight is a series of interviews with lawyers who practice healthcare transactional law, providing an in-depth look at the professionals within the field.

William Horton is a healthcare and business lawyer at Jones Walker, LLP, in Birmingham, Alabama. His practice focuses largely on the representation of healthcare providers and other healthcare enterprises, particularly in the area of M&A.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Demopolis, Alabama, where my high school classmates included a future NFL linebacker and a future CIA agent.

Where did you receive your undergraduate?  Where did you study law?

I graduated from Vanderbilt in 1982 with a degree in Economics and Business Administration, and went from there to Duke Law School, where I graduated in 1985.

How and why did you get into healthcare transactional law?

I started out as a young lawyer doing corporate and securities work for a firm that didn’t really have a healthcare practice but had several healthcare clients. Having an interest in the industry, I sort of drifted into focusing on those clients, and then ended up being general counsel of one of them for over nine years.

Are you involved in any volunteering efforts? If so, what?

I’ve held leadership roles with both the ABA Health Law Section and the American Health Lawyers Association for many years and will be Chair of the Health Law Section in 2015-2016. In addition to doing a lot of speaking and writing for those organizations, I also serve as Chair of the Board of a nonprofit continuing care retirement community and have been active in work for my church.

Have you received any awards or recognitions? 

I’ve been fortunate enough to be listed in Best Lawyers and Alabama Super Lawyers for a number of years, but really my favorite form of recognition is when peers of mine in the healthcare bar call to ask me to do things. Having the trust of colleagues you respect is really its own reward.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love law school teaching, which I’ve done for the past few years, I’m a voluminous reader, and I like writing vaguely snarky articles and book chapters on healthcare law topics.

Who has influenced you the most?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have more mentors and influences that I can count, but I’d have to single out my father, whose example taught me two rules I’ve tried to live by in my professional life: Always treat people as if you were going to see them again, and life’s too short not to laugh whenever you can.

What do you love the most about what you do?

I love the intellectual challenge in figuring out how to take the parts of a deal and put them together so they make sense for not only my client, but for all the players.