William W. “Billy” Wilkins Earns International Compliance and Ethics Award

September 14, 2011

GREENVILLE, SC – September 14, 2011 – William W. “Billy” Wilkins has earnedthe prestigious International Compliance and Ethics Award from the Society ofCorporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE).   The SCCE honored Wilkins at its 2011 Compliance & Ethics Institute inLas Vegas, NV.


We recognize the giants of our profession,” said SCCECEO Roy Snell. “We are grateful for the considerable contributions theseorganizations and individuals are making to help advance the compliance andethics profession. Their work speaks for itself.


Wilkins is former Chief Judge of the United States Courtof Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and former Chair of the United StatesSentencing Commission.  As chairman, hismandate was to bring about dramatic and positive changes in the nation’s federalcriminal justice system.  John Steer,representing the SCCE, introduced Wilkins at the awards ceremony bystating:


“It is largely due to the farsighted vision, uncommonleadership, and political courage of Chairman Wilkins that the organizationalsentencing guidelines with their compliance program incentive features became areality.  Fulfilling this project was nosmall feat….  After conceptualizing thecompliance program model, Judge Wilkins took a hands-on approach in developingthe model’s now well known seven steps and the other provisions of theorganizational guidelines (Chapter 8 of the Sentencing Guidelines Manual). That,however, was just the beginning, for he then had to sell the product to a groupof strong-willed Commissioners, whose ranks changed over time and several ofwhom were invested in very different approaches.  He convinced a Justice Department moreinterested initially in a strict punishment methodology.  He brought in business leaders and corporatecounsel and vetted the proposals nationwide.  He kept key members of Congress apprised of the Commission’s progress,and refused to back down when several powerful Congressional leaders demanded hehalt the project. The Commission unanimously passed the guidelines in 1991,Congress accepted them, over time the business community has embraced them, andthe foundation for one of the most important corporate governance and internalcontrol reforms was thereby established.”


“This award underscores the far-reaching contributionsJudge Wilkins has made to today’s corporate regulatory environment and theoverall conduct of business,” said John Sowards, Nexsen Pruet’s BoardChairman.  “His work at the state andfederal level has played a pivotal role in advancing quality corporategovernance, compliance and ethics, and I couldn’t think of a more deservingindividual to receive the honor.”    


Wilkins career spans more than four decades and includesa range of notable accomplishments:


           His1981 appointment as U.S. District Judge for the District of South Carolina wasPresident Reagan’s first selection to the FederalBench.

           In1989, he was selected U.S. Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit Court ofAppeals.

           In1999, Wilkins was named chair of the Committee on Criminal Law for the federaljudiciary by Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

           In2003, he was elevated to the position of Chief Judge of the Fourth Circuit Courtof Appeals.

           In2008, the American Bar Association honored him with a Lifetime AchievementAward.

           Wilkinsserved for 27 years in the U.S. Army (active and reserves) and in the SouthCarolina National Guard.

           Hespent 14 years as a member of the Judge Advocate General Corps of the ArmyReserves and 11 years as the State Judge Advocate for the South CarolinaNational Guard.


Since joining Nexsen Pruet in 2008, Wilkins has led thefirm’s White-Collar Crime, Appellate Advocacy and Corporate Compliance/CrisisManagement practices.  He is a graduateof Davidson College in North Carolina and the University of South CarolinaSchool of Law.



Nexsen Pruet, LLC is one of the largest law firms in theCarolinas, with more than 180 attorneys and offices in Columbia, Charleston,Greenville, Hilton Head, and Myrtle Beach, S.C. as well as Charlotte,Greensboro, and Raleigh, N.C.  Founded in1945, Nexsen Pruet provides a broad range of legal services to the businesscommunity and represents companies and other entities in local, state, national,and international venues.  For furtherinformation, see www.nexsenpruet.com.