Bankruptcy attorney William Kampf dies at 62

Kampf supervised a University Law School bankruptcy clinic for seven years.

William Kampf, 62, a top bankruptcy attorney, social activist and named one of the best lawyers in the United States, died Friday while driving to Madison, Wis.

Kampf, a University graduate, spent the past seven years supervising a bankruptcy clinic through the University’s Law School, introducing students to the real world of consumer practice. He proposed the idea of creating a bankruptcy clinic to the University’s Education Policy Committee.

Erin Keyes, assistant dean at the University’s Law School, said the 16 law school clinics are some of the best in the nation. Other clinics focus on topics such as domestic violence and federal defense.

“The faculty aid and variety of subject matter addressed in the clinics are a great complement to a law student’s academic work,” she said.

Keyes said the bankruptcy clinic Kampf headed was vital in today’s world.

“In light of an unstable economy and changes to the current bankruptcy laws, this clinic is a way for students to put theory into practice,” she said.

The director of the clinic, Maury Landsman, said he worked with Kampf and knew how much he loved his work.

“He really enjoyed teaching and was recently trying to increase the number of students enrolled in the program,” Landsman said.

Kampf represented large companies, including MA Gedney Co., Hoff Jewelers and Bridgeman’s Restaurants, Landsman said.

Kampf also served on several boards and dedicated his time to organizations such as the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the St. Paul Mount Zion Temple.

“Like many people say, Bill truly was a ‘super lawyer.’ He was named one of the best lawyers in America and top 100 in Minnesota,” he said, citing last month’s Minnesota Law & Politics magazine.

Landsman said Kampf fought for local businesses in financial trouble and argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I think his career had just peaked,” he said.

Landsman said the funeral was packed with hundreds of people, including other University faculty members.

When leaving the funeral at St. Paul’s Mount Zion Temple, he said, “Bill was a real force of nature; it is sad he died so young.”