Judge William A. “Bill” McKinnon was born in Raleigh, North Carolina and is the son of Halbert H. and Gail T. McKinnon. His father is a retired dentist and U.S. Army Reserve colonel, and his mother is a retired teacher. He is married to the former Ellen Whitley, a native of Rock Hill, and has two daughters. His wife, Ellen, is a registered nurse.
He grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and attended local public schools. Judge McKinnon graduated from Princeton University, in Princeton, NJ. After graduation, he taught middle school math and Latin. Judge McKinnon graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2001, and was first in his law school class.
Following his graduation from law school, Judge McKinnon clerked for then Chief Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr., in the District of South Carolina. He then moved to the Fairbanks, Alaska area for one year to clerk for the Hon. Andrew J. Kleinfeld on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Judge McKinnon began his private practice of law with Covington & Burling in Washington, DC. He missed South Carolina, and came back in 2004 to join Lewis, Babcock & Hawkins in Columbia. At Lewis, Babcock, Judge McKinnon handled plaintiff’s cases and defended civil cases. He subsequently moved to Rock Hill in 2007 to join McGowan, Hood & Felder, where he spent the majority of his career handling medical malpractice and other plaintiff’s cases. He also occasionally represented other attorneys on ODC matters.
In 2015, Judge McKinnon began work as a part-time assistant solicitor in the Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office while maintaining his private practice, and in 2016, went to work for the Solicitor’s Office full-time.
Judge McKinnon is admitted to the Bars of South Carolina and Washington, DC, as well as the District of South Carolina, various federal Courts of Appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge McKinnon also serves as an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). In his spare time, he enjoys reading (both fiction and non-fiction) and is a lifelong movie buff.Judge McKinnon was elected as Resident Circuit Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit in February 2018, succeeding the Hon. John C. Hayes, III upon Judge Hayes’ retirement.