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TrumanMedical Centers Skip Navigation LinksAbout TMC > Executive Biographies > William H. Colby, JD

William H. Colby, JD

General Counsel

Bill Colby began his law practice in 1982 in Washington, D.C., as a clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals and then in the D.C. office of Davis Polk & Wardwell.  In 1985 he moved to Kansas City and joined Shook, Hardy & Bacon.  Over the years, he has represented large corporate clients as well as individuals in a wide variety of matters in courts across the U.S.

From the late 1980s into the 1990s, he represented several Missouri families in disputes over an issue that is popularly known as the "right to die."  Most well known was the case of Nancy Cruzan, in which Colby argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, ultimately establishing the federal constitutional right to refuse unwanted medical treatment.

He has spoken extensively on these medical/legal issues in both the national broadcast and national print media and has been the featured speaker at a variety of meetings, including the American Bar Association and the Aspen Institute.  He has also published two critically acclaimed books and was named Kansas City Civil Libertarian of the Year.

Colby has served on the Board Executive Committee of the Children's Center for the Visually Impaired; as Board Chair of the Children's Center Campus; and on the ethics committee at Children's Mercy Hospital since the late-1990s.  He has worked for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, for the Center for Practical Bioethics, and has taught at the Kansas Law School.  He has a bachelor's degree from Knox College ('77), and a juris doctorate from the University of Kansas ('82).


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