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Mourning the Loss of William H. Dance

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14012240 (posted Jan. 22, 2014)"

By Dave Paruch

Bill Dance was many things to many people. A WWII veteran, a father of three and grandfather of three more, a husband, a friend, a worthy adversary--he played all these roles throughout his 92 years. To me and to many in Michigan and in AILA on the national level, he was all of those and so much more.

Bill was a lawyer's lawyer. He relished the representation of major corporations and of indigent asylum seekers, and he gave his best efforts to both. He prepared his cases with skill and care, and advocated zealously for his clients. Always respectful of the system, he navigated his client's matters to the best possible resolution within the boundaries of ethical practice.

As a teacher, he was one of the best. He taught most of a generation of Michigan immigration lawyers as an adjunct professor at two of the four major law schools. Within AILA, as a mentor, Bill made himself available to those with questions. Bill took the time on each such occasion not to simply spoon feed an answer, but rather to walk with the member through the process of discerning the answer so that the member asking developed the skills to find the answer to the next question.

Finally, and most importantly, Bill was a gentle man of the old school. Bill showed respect for and to all he met, a dry wit, a sharp and inquisitive mind, and an unfailing ethical sense. A giant in the field locally and nationally, he was nonetheless always a humble and gracious man.

I was honored and privileged to call Bill my friend for 30 years, and many others within AILA were also so blessed. He will be missed.

 
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