Spring 2014


Bill Goodspeed, ’83: Building Something Enduring with ZEAL

By Amy Spooner

Bill Goodspeed, ’83
Bill Goodspeed, ’83

Bill Goodspeed, ’83, built his career on the belief that you can do business and do good. He’s eager to help Michigan Law students understand the same. 

Goodspeed recently documented a $250,000 bequest to the Law School—$125,000 for clinics that serve indigent populations and $125,000 for the Zell Entrepreneurship and Law (ZEAL) Program. His designation reflects his desire to maximize the gift’s impact on society. 

“I’m impressed with the Law School’s service to people living in poverty,” he says, “so giving to the clinics lets me support those in need and the School at the same time.” 

For Goodspeed, who teaches strategy seminars at Michigan Law, giving to ZEAL also supports his goal. 

“Supporting entrepreneurship helps create thriving businesses that provide jobs as well as useful products and services. Lawyers have great potential to contribute to their communities through business, and ZEAL is an important step in that.” 

Goodspeed says law students want a more in-depth knowledge of business—not just within a legal framework, but through a businessperson’s lens. “I teach at 8 a.m., right after the students return in January. Yet they’re completely fired up to learn, ask great questions, and have great insights.” 

Goodspeed was similarly engaged with the world of business after a few years of law practice. He enjoyed his firm but became more interested in his clients’ success, and several inspired him to transition to business. 

Goodspeed went on to spend most of his career working with family-owned business and currently serves on seven boards of directors. 

“I grew enamored with the idea of building something enduring that provides value not just to the owners of the business, but also to the employees, their families, the customers, and communities,” he says. 

With the uncertainties of full-time retirement looming on the horizon, Goodspeed appreciates the ease of making his gift through his estate. 

“I felt comfortable giving more because I am doing it as a bequest,” he says. “In making sure I’m providing for my family, it was important to me to provide for the Law School, too.”

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