William W. Gibson was a visionary as well as a practicing lawyer in Minneapolis for over forty years. After entering practice in 1917, he became active in the county and state bar associations. Over the years he saw that the public's perception of the legal profession was dismal and he set out to change that by spearheading the formation public relations programs for the Minnesota and American Bar Associations. These efforts helped turn the public's view of lawyers from "suspicion" to "reliance."
He also saw that a publication of the state bar association had the potential to improve the practice of law through articles, notices of recent court decisions and changes in the law, increased communications among lawyers and so on. The result was the appearance of "Bench and Bar of Minnesota" in 1943.
He died on November 15, 1957, at age seventy-four. The following year, Horace Van Valkenburgh concluded a memorial for the Hennepin County Bar Association with a reference to his vision fulfilled:
"Certainly because of his professional life, the Bar has progressed in its techniques, its efficiency and in aiding in improving the basic law, and the dignity and prestige of the profession has been enhanced by his crusade to have the lawyer well trained and worthy and to have the public recognize him as a protector of rights and a fundamental cog in the free enterprise system of our economy."