Tribute to Bill Drew

By Jennifer Tharrington 

Since 2018, the Family Law Section has partnered with the Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section on a joint task force to review and amend the Uniform Parentage Act for presentation to the North Carolina legislature. This post is a tribute to a founding member of that task force, William (Bill) Drew, who passed away on February 21, 2020. Bill practiced in Charlotte with the firm now known as K&L Gates, until his retirement in 2002. Post-retirement, Bill remained actively engaged in the Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section and was one of the first attorneys to recognize the need for updated parentage statutes in North Carolina that better addressed the needs and definitions of modern families. Bill was a visionary and a pioneer that played a fundamental role in the work of the task force. Although retired and in his 70s, Bill noticed and understood the gap in North Carolina’s parentage statutes long before most other practitioners. He cared deeply about protecting all children and wanted to ensure that North Carolina parentage statutes were fair and inclusive—that no child, regardless of how he or she was conceived or born, would fall into a gap in the law. Bill was willing to actually do the work that was necessary to evolve the law and bring it back into alignment with the current reality of the American family. He generously offered his time, energy, and effort. He didn’t just call for change. He was willing to be the change. Bill’s presence on the task force will be deeply missed, and we hope to continue this important work in his memory.