William A. (Bill) Clarke

Spencer Fane attorney Bill Clarke


William (Bill) Clarke provides informed and experienced counsel to businesses, families, and individuals on structuring business transactions and personal finances, aligning strategies to achieve tax objectives, and developing estate planning goals.

With more than four decades of experience, Bill utilizes a full spectrum of options to create unique solutions that satisfy immediate needs while reducing taxes and protecting family wealth for generations to come. He has worked with businesses of all sizes and individual estates of varying complexity in estate planning, probate administration, general business matters, and corporate and real estate transactions. Bill’s practice includes specific experience with succession planning and the sale and purchase of businesses.

In addition, Bill represents clients in contested probate matters, including surviving spouses and heirs in estate disputes with family members over the allocation and distribution of assets. He also provides counsel to clients seeking guardianships and conservatorships.

Bill provides a personal touch when advising clients on complicated issues and navigating the unique dynamics involved with each situation.

While a situation may be complex, Bill excels at providing easy-to-understand advice and options that prioritize minimizing tax liability while ensuring protection and disposition of valuable assets in the process. He makes certain all key stakeholders have insight into the transfer of involved business interests and personal property.



  • University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, 1980 (J.D.), with Distinction
  • University of Kansas, 1977 (B.S., Business Administration and Accounting)

Bar Admissions

  • Arizona, 1980
  • Kansas, 1981

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Tax Court, 1980

  • Represents corporate fiduciaries in probate administration matters involving conflicts between beneficiaries.
  • Represents investors, including an international golf course management company, in the acquisition of interests in elite golf, tennis, and other recreational facilities.
  • Represented an Arizona family business in a transaction with an international Fortune 50 company for business succession planning with an ultimate sale for $200 million.
  • Represented an Arizona family business with operations in six states for a transaction with an international Fortune 50 company in the acquisition of distribution assets and facilities for the entire state of California, including obtaining a $175 million loan from a syndicate of two major banks.
  • Represented an Arizona family oil distribution business with operations in five states with a transaction involving a national oil distributor and real estate investment fund for the sale of the business and associated real estate with a total purchase price of $50 million.
  • For more than 10 years, served as Arizona counsel for an international bank, headquartered in London, working through a retained loan/investment pool in excess of $450 million.

  • Phoenix Swim Club, Inc., Legal Counsel (Pro Bono)
  • The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Legal Assistance Program
  • Madison School District
    • Chairman, Co-Chairman, three (3) successful bond and override election campaigns
    • Chairman and Committee Member, Financial Oversight Committee
  • Paradise Valley Country Club, Board of Directors

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent, Peer Review Rated
  • Phoenix Magazine, Top Lawyers; Wills, Trusts & Estates, 2022
  • AZBusiness Leaders, Estate Planning & Probate, 2018-2022
  • NCAA All American – Division I Tennis
  • NCAA Post Graduate Scholar

  • State Bar of Arizona
  • Kansas Bar Association
  • Central Arizona Estate Planning Council, 2003-present