After graduating with honors from Harvard College in 1966, and from Rutgers Law School with highest honors in 1969, W. William Hodes began practice in a small civil rights and personal injury firm in New Orleans, where he had lived as a child. During the next eight years, he worked in Newark, New Jersey, first for the Kenneth Gibson administration, and then as senior staff attorney for the Education Law Center, a public interest law firm funded by the Ford Foundation.
In 1979, Hodes returned to the legal academy, first as a Bigelow Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, and then as a Professor of Law at the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. For the next twenty years, Professor Hodes taught in the areas of Civil Procedure, Constitutonal Law, Federal Courts, Administrative Law, and Professional Responsibility. He gained a national reputation as a scholar, consultant, and expert witness in the areas of Legal Ethics and Professional Responsbility, as they were then known.
Beginning in 1985 however, those subjects began to be known as "The Law of Lawyering," after a book of that name was published, co-authored by Professor Hodes and Professor Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr., who had served as the Reporter to the Kutak Commission that developed the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The treatise, which is updated annually, has become a mainstay resource for both the practicing bar and the academic community, and is often cited in court and ethics committee opinions.
While in the academy, Professor Hodes took two unusual sabbatical leaves. In the Spring of 1989, Hodes, who had spent his junior high school years in Beijing and is still fluent in Chinese, was a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer at the China University of Politics and Law, teaching a course in American Civil Procedure and conducting research into Chinese People's Mediation. (The course was suspended in April, when the events leading to the June 4th Tiananmen Massacre began to unfold, and Professor Hodes began to accompany his students on protest marches.)
During the October 1996 Term of the United States Supreme Court, Professor Hodes served as law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had been his Civil Procedure and Conflicts of Law professor some thirty years earlier, during her Rutgers days. According to knowledgeable sources, Hodes was the oldest person to have served as a law clerk since the early 19th Century.
In 1999, W. William Hodes retired from law teaching (at age 56) in order to establish the William Hodes Professional Corporation, which was later renamed The William Hodes Law Firm; he became Professor Emeritus of Law at Indiana University as the new century began. Through this solo practice, Hodes can now devote full time to providing representation, consultation, expert testimony, legal opinions, and other counsel and assistance to lawyers in the areas of The Law of Lawyering, and Constitutional, Appellate, Supreme Court, and other complex litigation.