Bill Kenny: strong moral resolve and the ability to find the nugget

It’s taken three lawyers at Stewart Esten law firm to assume the files served by Bill Kenny in his single office.

Since he joined Stewart Esten in 1985, Bill has steadfastly handled diverse real estate transactions.  He’s been the wisdom behind estate management for many clients, giving voice to tomorrow for people today.  He’s pilotted many business owners through corporate issues.  With his retirement, it’s taking three lawyers, with computers, to handle his caseload.

Interesting thing is that Bill carried this load for his 40 years in law, without using a computer.

When you’re sitting in front of Bill’s desk, there’s a large notepad and his undivided attention.  No text messages pinging, no email notices bouncing on the screen.  No screen.  Just his full attention and a mind that gets to the heart of the matter.

It could be his rural routes as an Oro Township farm lad that has spawned a solid person with the ultimate in common sense.  The only child of Edna and Gerald Kenny, he’s thoughtful, solitary and comfortable in himself.  Those traits have served Bill and his clients really well.

For 25 years Bill Kenny has attended the Stewart Esten Coldwater office twice a week, and built a client base who appreciate his skill set… and the attitude that goes with it.  His colleague Bill Leslie says, “when right’s right and wrong’s wrong, Bill Kenny has resolve and a tremendous moral compass.”

So, after 40 years as lawyer, what does retirement look like?

It’ll continue to include dinners and travel with good friends, friends of the four-decade variety.  Realtor Dave Hunter is a long personal and business referral to Bill.  Says Dave:  “When they don’t have a lawyer, I’ve always referred my clients to Bill.  He knows the law, but he also understands how people live.”

Dave says he appreciates the time “Bill takes to connect to people, to tell a story, to ask about your family.  It’s important in business transactions, but it’s not common today.”

That’s likely why Bill Kenny was usually at his desk by 7 am (often walking to work) and still there 12 hours later.  He would have scores and scores of files open simultaneously, his mind in gear with details all the time.  Bill’s two sons, Matt and David, have no doubt taken some of that single mindedness into their corporate careers in Toronto.

His daughter, teacher Janet McCrindle, says since her father retired,  “he’s more relaxed.  He’s making time to play with my kids… there’s a definite softening.  He’s easy to be around.”

Both daughter Janet and wife Marg say Bill’s primary life emphasis is family.  He loves to have all 3 kids and 8 grandchildren at the cottage at once.  It could be because he didn’t have siblings that he’s so thrilled when his own kids are all together.  And certainly as Bill looks down the retirement pipe, Marg has every reason to be concerned.

When a person has been focussed on work for so long, retirement can be unsettling.  Bill says he’s been doing a lot of reading on this issue and his plans are coming into focus.  First, his 1966 Austin Healey is coming out of the garage and hitting the road.  Second, he’s gearing up his swim and walk routine, adding skiing and squash.  Of course there’s his interest in investing and grandchildren, but the cottage looms largest.

Oh, and yes!  There’s this new computer at home with his name on it.  And Bill now has an email address and knows how to get onto the internet.  He came into his old law firm last week to deal with final files, and with great enthusiasm said:  “You can find anything on the internet!”  The team just smiled.

Bill?  Thanks!