William A Wise

Senior Counsel
  • T 617.305.2128

William Wise is a senior counsel in Holland & Knight's Boston office. Mr. Wise's practice focuses on assisting chief legal officers, general counsels and companies with review and implementation of compliance and ethics programs, including but not limited to, code of conduct training and evaluation of a company's risk assessment process. Mr. Wise counsels government contractors on statutory and regulatory framework regarding ethics and procurement integrity. He advises on avoiding personal and organizational conflicts of interests and promoting an effective code of business ethics required under federal procurement regulations. Mr. Wise's many years of experience as internal counsel to high profile corporations adds another dimension to his practice. He is frequently consulted by in-house counsel for his practical insights in addressing and simplifying legal challenges faced by the busy general counsel. 

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Wise was the Chief Compliance and Business Ethics Officer of a Fortune 1000 company where he reported directly to the Chair of the Board of Directors’ Nominating and Governance Committee. Mr. Wise was responsible for overseeing company compliance with legal, regulatory and ethical policies as well as oversight of the company's environmental and social responsibility initiatives.

For 18 years prior to being designated as his company's Chief Compliance and Business Ethics Officer, Mr. Wise led the company’s legal department supervising all legal and compliance matters. As Corporate Counsel, he supported the company's implementation of a worldwide product distribution network, negotiating contracts with distributors and providing effective anti-trust counseling to company management. Mr. Wise instituted cost saving procedures to facilitate negotiation of licensing and product development agreements with domestic and international vendors and customers, and provided legal support on national and international employment matters. His legal experience with the company also included managing foreign counsel and litigation activities in Europe, Asia and the United States. His direct supervision of the patent function of the company was instrumental in producing a significant increase to the company's patent portfolio.

Mr. Wise is founder of and mediator with the Sheldon W. Rothstein Mediation and Conciliation Program, a Corporate Counsel of America, Northeast Chapter pro bono initiative, providing mediation and conciliation services to litigants in two state courts of Massachusetts. Mr. Wise is also a neutral with the American Arbitration Association for mediation and arbitration matters, specializing in commercial, employment and intellectual property cases.

Mr. Wise has a combined 35 years teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in both contract law and international law. He is a frequent lecturer on ethics and compliance topics to the business community and to university audiences in the Boston area.

Prior to engaging in the practice of law and beginning his legal career in business, Mr. Wise served as a trooper with the Massachusetts State Police where he was assigned to the investigation bureau conducting investigations in a variety of cases, including political corruption, homicides, bank robberies and illegal drug trafficking.

Honors & Awards

  • Boston Bar Association Volunteer of the Year Award, 2006
  • “Excellence as In-House Counsel Award,” New England Chapter CCA of America, 2005
  • American Bar Association Litigation Committee’s Pro Bono Award, 2002
  • First Recipient of Judge Maurice Richardson Award for Outstanding Service to Court, 1998


  • Directors International Catholic Migration Commission, Inc., Board Member
  • Appointed Chief Ethics Officer of the Ethics and Compliance Officers Association, a national member-driven professional organization representing the largest group of ethics and compliance practitioners in the world, 2011
  • Small Business Innovations, New England Chapter of the National Defense Industry Association, Vice President, 2010