The Bio

Balance.

What someone has done--particularly over decades--shows what is important to them, and how they approach their responsibilities.  I encourage you to review closely what any candidate for your vote has done and what experience is relevant to the position they seek.


I have a great deal of experience with criminal law and complex civil litigation.  I started my legal career in the Air Force as a member of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps.  I throughly enjoyed that work, as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney.  When I left the Air Force to follow my wife to Minnesota for her continued medical training, I was fortunate to find a home with a well-regarded Minnesota firm.  I focused on public law and civil litigation, with a primary emphasis on environmental law.  After being elected a shareholder, I followed my wife again for her career, this time to California and her own stint in the Air Force.  I was, again, lucky to find a position with a large Sacramento firm where my litigation skills were put to good use. I made partner, but then followed my wife back to Minnesota for her career.  Although neither of us grew up in Minnesota, it was a very easy decision for us to look here to have our careers and raise our family. 


When we returned, I joined the United States Attorney's Office.  As a federal prosecutor I worked on major crimes.  I worked with the FBI, EPA, Secret Service, and other investigative agencies.  It was another wonderful position.  After seven years, I was selected as a finalist by the Commission on Judicial Selection for a position on the Hennepin County Bench, and Governor Pawlenty accepted that recommendation and appointed me to the bench in 2007.


I have been a trial court judge for 13 years.  And I would like to continue in this position.


I invite you to review my qualifications even further, both here on this page and through the link down below.  My wide and deep experience in military, federal, civil, and criminal, and federal law give me a perspective few have.

My wife and I raised our two children in Hennepin County, and are connected to many community organizations.

For fun, I like to ride my bike, hike, canoe, kayak, and be on a lake as much as possible.  (And, as my family knows, I am always picking up trash as I walk our dog--you have to leave things better than you find them.)

I also like volunteering.  A lot.

                                                                               -- Judge Koch

 

Experience

2007 - Present

Judge

Bill was appointed by Governor Tim Pawlenty after being nominated by the non-partisan Commission on Judicial Selection.  Awarded the Professionalism Award in 2017 from the Hennepin County Bar Association.  Effectively manages heavy trial caseload on State’s largest court. Receives consistently high reviews. Leads training and outreach efforts. Frequent lecturer and mentor. Traveled to the Republic of Georgia in 2018 and Cuba in 2013 as part of self-funded Minnesota judicial contingents concerning the rule of law. Initiated Bench participation in 1L Diversity Clerkship Program. Created high-profile annual free Valentine’s Day wedding ceremony involving entire Bench. Active member of HCBA Board of Directors, committees, and clubs. Leadership committee of MSBA High School Mock Trial competition.

2000-2007

Asst U.S. Attorney

Bill served during both Democratic and Republican administrations.  He was an attorney in the Major Crimes Section and was responsible for working on cases with the FBI, Secret Services, EPA, Fish & Wildlife Service, and others.  He was the sole prosecutor of environmental crimes.  And he was one of two anti-terrorism prosecutors following the September 11 terrorist attacks.  Frequent lecturer at DOJ’s National Advocacy Center, local and national CLEs, and law schools.  He was repeatedly recognized for his work on behalf of the DOJ and other federal agencies.

1997-2000

Partner

Moving to California, Bill became a partner at Sacramento's largest law firm when he joined Downey, Brand, Seymour & Rohwer.  He focused his practice on environmental and complex litigation.  He was part of the legal leadership team for a group of Potentially Responsible Parties who voluntarily stepped up to assume responsibility for a large environmental cleanup, resulting in identifying and involving hundreds of other responsible parties.

 

1991-1997

Shareholder

Joining the Public Law Group at Leonard, Street and Deinard (now Stinson), Bill practiced civil litigation and regulatory compliance law.  He helped spearhead a new "general counsel" relationship between the firm and an international transportation company that still thrives today.  He was part of a national counsel team responsible for a wide-range of lawsuits in state and federal court across the country.  And, in his own time, he wrote and got passed (with only one dissenting vote in both the House and the Senate) a new environmental auditing law aimed at encouraging companies to detect, report, and fix environmental problems.

1988-1991

USAF JAG

Bill started his legal career as a criminal prosecutor and, later, a defense attorney at Andrews Air Force Base as part of the Judge Advocate General Corps.  As a JAG, Bill coordinated the prosecutions at one of the busiest base legal offices in the Air Force.  As defense counsel, he represented service members at 10 bases along the east coast.  He had remarkable success and instituted new programs aimed at curbing prevalent drug crimes and addiction, as well as an innovative community program to address juvenile offenses.

 

Education

1985-1988

GW Law

Attending George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC, Bill was active in a criminal legal clinic, student government, and other campus activities.  He represented indigent defendants in federal district court in cases prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.

1981-1985

Duke

Bill went to Duke University on an Air Force scholarship.  He received degrees in Civil/Environmental Engineering and Public Policy Studies.  He was active in a number of campus organizations, and he served as an intern in the office of his home state's United States Senator (Senator Arlen Specter, R-PA).

 

Recognitions & Awards

Rule-of-Law Delegation (Republic of Georgia)

2018

Bill organized a self-funded trip by Minnesota state court judges to the Republic of Georgia to meet with judges, attorneys, civilian rule-of-law organizers, and others.  This followed a trip several years earlier by Georgian officials to observe the legal process in Minnesota courts.  The Minnesota delegation met with representatives of the U.S. Embassy and with the highest legal officials in the Republic of Georgia.  The delegation also engaged in numerous educational sessions with Georgian students.

Professionalism Award

2017

Bill received the Professionalism Award from the Hennepin County Bar Association for his work on behalf of the HCBA and the legal profession.

Rule-of-Law Delegation (Cuba)

2013

Participating in a self-funded trip with other Minnesota judges, Bill traveled to Cuba before its short-lived re-opening with the United States in order to meet with leaders in its legal and diplomatic corps in an effort to increase understanding of the rule of law and the way in which the United State legal system operates.

 

U.S. Secret Service Certificate of Appreciation

2007

Bill received a Certificate of Appreciation from the United States Secret Service for his work on a series of counterfeiting cases.

U.S. DOJ Certificate of Commendation

2005

Bill was recognized in Washington, DC, by the Department of Justice for his noteworthy achievements in the area of environmental criminal enforcement.

U.S. Secret Service Certificate of Appreciation

2004

For his work with the United States Secret Service on a number of cases, Bill received a Certificate of Appreciation.

 

U.S. DOJ Certificate of Commendation

2003

The Department of Justice honored Bill in Washington, DC, for his work on several high-profile cases.

 

Detailed Resumé

(includes activities, publications, and presentations through May 2020)