Attorney William W. Pulos has a dedicated, successful and diverse professional career of service to others. Beginning as a Boy Scout and Church usher in his hometown of Alfred, New York, “Bill” graduated from Alfred-Almond Central High School in 1973 earning a Regents diploma with honors. In 1977 he graduated from Alfred University, Magna Cum Laude. Bill returned to Alfred his hometown in 1980 following graduation from Albany Law School, having won 1st in class in Trial Court Competition. He opened his law practice by “hanging his shingle” on Alfred’s Main Street.
Bill grew up on the family farm and is a legal resident of the Town of Alfred for 65+ consecutive years.
For 4 years 1981-1985 Bill and his parents, Dr. William L. Pulos and Mrs. Juanita Whitaker Pulos, simultaneously served as faculty members at Alfred University. Few, if any, families in Alfred University’s history since 1836 share this distinction.
Bill Pulos is the oldest Allegany County native practicing law locally and one of few, if any, Allegany County natives during the last 100 years to start a solo law practice. Since 2012, Bill has been cited every year by the Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Peer Review Rating Service (the oldest in the nation) by achieving their highest rating of “AV-Preeminent” – the highest in legal ethics and ability; the highest rating accorded to 10% of all lawyers nationwide. He is believed to be the only Allegany County lawyer not employed by the Court system to have achieved this recognition.
Bill has a long list of public service accomplishments for which he has been recognized on local, state and national levels. Perhaps the most defining aspect of Bill’s career and ability has been his dedication to volunteerism and public service. Helped by many to whom he is always quick to give credit, Bill has dedicated much of his life to community, college and civic service for the public good.
Beginning in 1982, he served as attorney for local town and village governments for a combined 68 years. For some Towns, the yearly retainer was $500.00. He received no health insurance or government pension benefits from any of them. In Bill’s 18 consecutive years as Alfred Town Attorney, the Town was never sued successfully.
Bill served many years as a professor at all three (3) Alfred colleges. He taught at Alfred University, Alfred State College and Empire State College: AU–18 semesters, ASC–4 semesters full-time and ESC-8 semesters part-time.
As of June 30, 2020, Bill had committed portions of a combined 76 semesters to teaching, coaching, advising, officiating and administrating, mostly at the collegiate level, all without pension, insurance or benefits.
Since 1980 Bill Pulos has donated 10,000 hours of service to others.
- Bill served his community with heavy, sustained involvement in the Alfred Lions Club for 12 years (1982-1994). Through this organization, Bill leveraged his skills, energy and expertise for community fundraising programs and tournaments. During his tenure, he introduced and developed 4 new fundraising events featuring high school athletes held at the college’s sports arenas, raising thousands of new charitable dollars in record numbers for Lions Club recipients.
- In 1989, Bill earned the NYS District 20E-1 LIONS 100% Club President Designation. He was also awarded the District Governor’s CAMEL AWARD for his Commitment, Attitude, Motivation, Enthusiasm and Leadership, an award created personally for him that year.
- In 1990, Bill was awarded LION OF THE YEAR by the Alfred Lions Club.
- In 1991, at age 35, Bill was recognized by the International Association of Lions Clubs and was honored with the most prestigious worldwide award in Lionism, the Melvin Jones International Humanitarian Award, which cited his high ethical standards in the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the community.
- In 1991, Bill became Alfred’s only recipient of the Statewide Lions Leadership Award presented by New York’s Organization of Past District Leaders
- In 1982, Bill became an honorary brother at AU’s Delta Sig Phi fraternity. For 7 years 1982-1989 he was a house advisor and at the request of AU President Edward Coll, served on the fraternity’s Advisory Control Board.
- Bill proudly served his community as a NYS exempt volunteer firefighter with the Alfred Station Volunteer Fire Department for 13 years (1985-1998). He worked his way up through the ranks, starting on the fire line, was 2nd Assistant Chief of the Department for 4 years (1988-1992) and was elected President of the Department (1994-1996). In this capacity, Bill was very successful intersecting and interacting with a broad cross-section of people from Allegany County. In 1992, after a period of dormancy, Bill re-introduced the concept of parade uniforms and parade dress to his department which eventually led to the Alfred Station Fire Department winning numerous Allegany County and regional competitions, year after year.
- In 1985, with the urging and support of many Delta Sig fraternity brothers, Bill co-founded the ALFRED UNIVERSITY RUGBY CLUB, an intercollegiate Division III sports team. During that time, Bill served as college chairman of the NYS governing body. As of June 2020, the rugby club had enjoyed 70 consecutive semesters of good standing, largely due to the impact of Coach Bill Pulos.
- In 1989-1990, Bill’s energy, expertise and creativity were called into play during the confrontation between the New York State Radioactive Siting Commission and the citizens of Allegany County. NYS was determined to build a radioactive waste storage facility in Allegany County. Rallying to help his fellow citizens, Bill authored a law he wrote from scratch prohibiting the State of New York (or anyone else) from siting a radioactive waste facility which was adopted in seven (7) Allegany County towns. For months, Bill travelled the countryside helping others understand and deal with this very complex issue, at no charge (pro bono).
- In 1992, Bill (assisted by his then-law clerk Timothy Rosell) donated a 300-volume set of leather-bound New York Supplement (1st series) Law Reporters in memory of his mother to the New York State Seventh Judicial District Law Library in Bath, New York, a set of works that remain there to this day. Justice Henry Scudder (former Presiding Justice of the NYS Supreme Court – 4th Appellate Department), former Steuben County Judge Joseph Latham, former District Attorney John Tunney, former Surrogate Clerk Peggy Lynn Plank and Librarian Kristine Gilbert commemorated the occasion, shortly before Mr. Rosell left to begin law school.
- Between 1990 and 1993, Bill faced a real professional challenge. He was called upon to represent the Town of Alfred in (3) separate, hotly contested taxation lawsuits brought by Alfred University against the Town of Alfred. These suits contested the taxing of the Alfred University Saxon Inn Hotel. These lawsuits impacted the budgets of the Village of Alfred, the Town of Alfred, the Alfred-Almond School District and the Allegany County. Everyone involved in this community-wide dispute had interlaced family, educational and professional connections with these entities, with complex overlaps. Emotions ran high.
- For what amounted to an honorarium for his professional service during this period, Bill brokered an amicable resolution to the 3-year dispute resulting in the 4 government units receiving almost $1,000,000.00 in revenue over the next 20 years and continuing.
- From 1990 – 1997, Bill and a partner solved a riddle for state and local taxpayers in the City of Hornell, New York. The old elementary school had fallen into disrepair, having been abandoned by the Hornell City School district many years earlier. Asbestos fears and the magnitude of the abatement precluded school district involvement. It was a community challenge no one would undertake.
Bill and his partner, with considerable personal exposure, braved the odds, purchased the property and undertook the enormous task of legal demolition and removal to create an environmentally clean site.
Once the site was declared environmentally clean, the State of New York (with no prior warning) took most of the property via eminent domain. Safe, modern bridges, used by hundreds of thousands of cars since, replaced the old rusty bridges which had been built in the WPA days of the Depression Era, or earlier. The bridges had formerly intersected at a dangerous, “switch back” configuration and were built over the Conrail railroad tracks, the Kanakadea Creek and Canisteo River that drain the US Army Corps of Engineers Almond Lake into the Susquehanna River Basin flowing to Chesapeake Bay.
In 1997, Bill and his partner donated the rest of the land left behind by the State to the Hornell Presbyterian Church for use by their church parsonage next door.
It has been estimated the efforts of Bill and his business partner saved NYS and local taxpayers over two million dollars ($2,000,000.00).
In 1998 and 1999, in collaboration with the Alfred United Methodist Church, Bill honored his mother’s tireless devotion to music, church and children by creating the Juanita Whitaker Pulos Alfred Methodist Church Music Scholarship. He donated $10,000 as seed money to fund the program which awarded yearly scholarships to high school graduates intending to become college music majors.
In 2011, Bill arranged for the re-purposing of those same funds to the alumni association of Bill’s alma mater, the Alfred-Almond Central School, specifically earmarked for the Juanita Whitaker Pulos Fine Arts scholarship:
In 2004, a once-in-a-life time philanthropic opportunity arose requiring Bill’s particular traits of desire, determination and discipline to accomplish. A local clothing, sports and Army-Navy store announced it was closing its doors after decades of business dating to the late 1940’s. Bill and his law partner Timothy Rosell purchased the store’s entire contents. Over many months, they (with their staff) sorted, catalogued and transported all the usable items in a tractor-trailer to Buffalo and gave them to the VIVE refugee center, the largest international refugee center in the United States. Over 7800 items of clothing were donated.
In 2004, Bill began his collaboration with the Alfred-Almond Alumni Association. Working closely with community and church leaders Mr. and Mrs. Lee Ryan of Almond (NY), Bill created the Juanita Whitaker Pulos Fine Arts Scholarship, awarded annually by the AAAA, beginning in 2006.
The 2-year process culminated with Bill re-creating his mother’s life of church, community and children by writing and publishing her biography to support the scholarship program and her induction in the AAAA Humanities Hall of Fame.
Although the Alumni Association had other scholarship awards, this was the first memorial program of its kind. To date, over $50,000.00 has been awarded from the JWP program to Alfred-Almond graduates.
This program became the model for other A-A alumni. In 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2021, new benefactors came forward and utilized the Pulos model to begin new memorial scholarships with the AAAA. Bill negotiated with the donors for all the programs and drafted all the agreements between the parties, pro bono.
Once engaged by the Alfred-Almond Alumni Association in 2004, Bill served as legal counsel for the group for more than a decade, again pro bono. As the AAAA progressed, Bill was recruited to join its Board of Directors and create a Finance Committee in 2013. From there, it was natural for Bill to ascend to the presidency, a role held by only five (5) people over the previous 55 years.
During his two years as president, membership and scholarship awards increased by 33% as the AAAA gave away a record setting $130,000.00 to Alfred-Almond graduates. His career of service to the AAAA can be summarized: Donor, Author, Counsel, Chair and President.
Also during 2006, Mr. Pulos and Mr. Rosell for a second time donated another set of law books to a local library; this time it was a thirteen hundred (1300) volume set of Federal Court reporters to the David A. Howe Memorial Library in Wellsville, NY. A dedication ceremony was held to commemorate the occasion at the library in November 2006 at which time Bill’s parents were recognized for their service to Wellsville and Allegany County:
In 2007, Mr. Pulos and Mr. Rosell’s efforts enabled the Allegany Bar Association to help the Allegany County Youth Court, commemorated with a public ceremony in the Allegany County Courthouse in Belmont.
In 2008, Mr. Pulos and Mr. Rosell’s efforts enabled the Allegany County Bar to assist the Literacy Volunteers of America, again commemorated with a public ceremony at the Allegany County LVA.
2008 – 2009 – When one of their fellow Allegany County Bar members nearly died after being stricken with a life-threatening illness, requiring multiple surgeries and months of recuperation, Mr. Pulos and Mr. Rosell took the initiative by organizing a hugely successful, broad based fund-raising campaign for the member’s family.
During 2008, the combined congregations of the 1st Alfred Seventh Day Baptist Church and the Union University Church joined forces in a $30,000 fundraising campaign to rebuild the Church’s historic pipe organ. Again, Bill and his family came forward to assist the project culminating in a memorial ceremony held in the Church sanctuary on March 4, 2009 to honor his mother’s 25 years of service to both churches. Bill delivered a message from the pulpit that day, 23 years to the day from Mrs. Pulos’s passing:
Speech delivered to the combined congragations of the 1st Seventh Day Baptist Church and the Union University Church of Alfred in the sanctuary at the Memorial Donation Ceremony In Memory of Juanita Whitaker Pulos – March 4, 2009
- Later that year in 2009, Bill was called back as Head Coach of Alfred University Rugby. After 19 years, he returned to coaching following the death of one of his players; his friend, former club captain, club charter member, Angelica native and NYRC Academic All-Star Jeffrey Hollier, a PhD in neuroscience at Penn State.
Dr. Hollier’s death prompted Bill’s return to coaching with a renewed sense of purpose and it readily became apparent to the public as he imbued his club members with a new appreciation of public service. As a certified USA RUGBY and POSITIVE COACHING ALLIANCE – Double Goal Coach, Bill continued shaping the lives of hundreds of college students.
In perhaps the most revealing aspect of his character, upon his return Bill instituted a program of public service for the rugby club. Before the concept of team sport/community service for sports teams became a local cause celebre, in 3 years during 2009–2012, the rugby club donated 600 man-hours of credentialed community service. The Alfred Rugby club was the 1st club on either campus to respond to a call for help and was the 1st to participate in the Alfred State College inaugural Civic Engagement Community Action Day, with wide media coverage and a commendation from Alfred University’s Director of Student Activities:
Bill turned the rugby program around and transformed the club into a New York Rugby Conference playoff contender in 3 semesters, without a varsity sports budget, equipment or resource support.
Since the club’s inception in 1985, Bill was never paid to coach. He was never covered by the University’s insurance program. He assumed considerable financial and personal risk on the field while coaching and administrating this tough team of athletes that play 5-8 weekends each semester (fall and spring) by travelling in their own cars, somewhat akin to the barnstorming days of professional baseball.
In 2012, after winding up 16 seasons, and after serving as Secretary of the Board for the NYS Rugby Conference, Bill thought he had finally finished his college rugby-coaching career with 100 wins. He was wrong.
In early 2014, Bill compiled a book entitled THE HISTORY OF ALFRED UNIVERSITY RUGBY, tracing the recorded history of the club from its inception through 2013.
- Shortly after in 2015, Bill tried his hand at photojournalism by compiling an e-book entitled “The History of Albany Law Rugby.” The e-book honors Bill’s law school professor, who started the law school club, with the club’s pictorial history.
Bill’s dedicatory of the Albany Law School rugby heritage followed his leadership with fellow alumni decades earlier who created the Professor William M. Watkins Memorial Scholarship at Albany Law School named for the club’s professor-founder. To date, the fund has over $ 160,000.00 available.
In 2011, extending his contribution to local history and pursuing his interest in sports and his high school alma mater, Bill wrote and published a book entitled The Coaching History of Alfred-Almond Swimming. In hardcover, this book traces the 53-year story of one of the area’s most successful sports programs at Alfred-Almond Central School 1958-2011. Catalogued in the U.S. Library of Congress, this book was written, published and distributed at Bill’s expense:
The book’s publication followed a formal program at Alfred-Almond sponsored by Bill and his brother Robert honoring the 5-time consecutive swim team champions (January 20, 2011). Bill created, designed and purchased a team spirit banner for permanent display, team t-shirts and a brochure summarizing the team’s history, all of which were donated to the school by the Pulos brothers.
- The lure of competition, camaraderie and the player’s courage on the rugby field led to Bill’s third term on the Alfred University Rugby Field in the fall of 2017. The third time was the charm. The club’s years of forging dedication, desire, determination and discipline, living with the mantra of strength, pride, attitude, nerve and courage, all begun 32 years earlier, came to fruition that fall. Bill served as the club’s consultant, advocate and motivator during the team’s 1st ever march to the New York State Small College Rugby Championship, ending with the club’s 1st ever national ranking at # 18 out of 400.
To commemorate this special occasion, NYS State Senator Catherine Young sponsored a NYS Senate resolution congratulating the club on their achievements. According to Alfred University President Mark Zupan, this was the 1st time an Alfred University sports team had received this honor and encouraged Bill to stay on in his capacity for two more seasons with the club during 2018 and 2019.
During Bill’s time with the club, he enjoyed the vocal, in-person support of both Dr. Zupan and former president Dr. Edward Coll.
In all, Bill donated over 4000 hours of his time to coaching, managing and administrating the Alfred University rugby club for 19 seasons.
- To this day, Bill continues his community connection as a life member of the Allegany County Volunteer Firemen’s Association, as a life member of Alfred’s Baker’s Bridge Historical Society, as a life member of the Almond Historical Society and as a charter member of the Allegany County Historical Society.
- Bill is a charter member of the 1851 Society at his alma mater, Albany Law School in Albany, New York:
- Bill’s membership in the Albany Law 1851 Society led him to create and become the charter member of the Alfred-Almond Alumni Association 1940 Society in 2019, encouraging estate planning donations to the AAAA.
- Beginning in 2015, Bill and Mr. Rosell started the Hornell branch of the Steuben County Bar Association holiday giving program. Every years since, they have collected toys, clothes and coats for a variety of agencies including Catholic Charities, Hillside Homes and Arbor Housing Net, Shelter and Abuse program.
Bill’s tireless service to his community is documented here:
Bill Pulos is the only attorney in the United States with this curriculum vitae:
- Started and owned his private law practice for 39 consecutive years.
- Admitted to Practice in the United States Supreme Court, having
- Filed a case for review at the United States Supreme Court
- Martindale-Hubbell’s AV rating – highest in ethics and ability
- Teaching professor at three colleges
- Author of a book catalogued in the U.S. Library of Congress
- Co-Founder and Head coach of a Division III college level sports team
Following the example set by his parents, with the support of his family, neighbors and friends over 40 years, attorney Bill Pulos has exhibited extraordinary dedication to bettering his community, by donating his personal resources, talents and time. He continues looking for opportunities to serve his community and honor his parents while striving to maintain the highest professional standards.
Alfred, New York