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Member Feature: Bill Nolan of Barnes & Thornburg

Bill Nolan Has Been a Consistent Leader in the Central Ohio Community

Bill Nolan

Barnes & Thornburg LLP


Small Biz Cares Board Member, Bill Nolan is one of the founding board members of Small Biz Cares.

Through his business, legal and community experiences, Bill has helped Small Biz Cares get off the ground and grow. His organization has taken a leadership role in the community, building partnerships and launching important initiatives around diversity and inclusion.

We asked Bill to share more about him, his firm and what he and his organization does to support the community.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I had no idea! Did not plan on being a lawyer but given that I am 3rd generation (with uncles and cousins too), maybe it was inescapable …

What led to your start at Barnes & Thornburg?

I started the Columbus office in 2009. I was very happy where I was and not looking, but got a call for an employment lawyer to start an office and couldn’t pass up that challenge and opportunity (even in 2009).

What are you currently binge-watching?

My wife and I just finished Big Little Lies. 1st season better than the 2nd, but all good.

What product/service to you provide?

Business Legal Services

Tell us about one cause your company has supported. How did you make an impact?

Our office is probably most known for our inclusion and diversity efforts, which take many forms. We started an initiative in the legal community known as “GELI” — gender equity in the legal industry, which has driven a series of small-table-discussion events where we respectfully challenge each other to do better, and collaborate on doing so.

How do you engage your employees in the community?

We try to make our efforts follow our teammates’ passions, and help them effectively connect the dots, and avoid a top-down “this is our initiative model.” Some of our favorite partnerships include Columbus Young Professionals, United Way, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Columbus Metropolitan Club, and Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

What would you like the community to know about your company and how it’s making an impact?

We love forming and participating in partnerships to identify and fill gaps in our community efforts. As many great things as there are happening out there, there is always room for more, and we are passionate (and pretty good at) bringing people together and solving problems.

Interested in connecting with community-minded small business owners and professionals?

Learn more about membership in Small Biz Cares and join the movement!

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