William M. Ray
Judge William M. Ray, II (Billy) was born in Macon, Georgia in 1963 and raised in Peach and Crawford Counties. He is the son of a farmer.
Judge Ray attended the University of Georgia, where he obtained a Bachelor of Business degree from the Terry School of Business in 1985, magna cum laude, majoring in Risk Management and Insurance. He also obtained a Master of Business degree from UGA in 1986, with honors, majoring in Finance. Judge Ray thereafter attended the University of Georgia School of Law, where he obtained a Juris Doctor degree in 1990, graduating cum laude.
While in law school, Judge Ray was actively involved in the moot court program, participating on the ABA Team as a 2L and on the Hulsey-Kimbrell Team as a 3L, as well as serving as a managing member of the Moot Court Board. He was inducted into both the Order of the Barristers and the Order of the Coif, in recognition of his oral advocacy and academic achievements.
Upon graduating from law school in 1990, Judge Ray moved to Lawrenceville, Georgia to begin the practice of law with the firm then known as Andersen, Davidson & Tate. As a trial attorney, his practice was primarily family law and civil litigation, including real estate, construction and contract law. Judge Ray became a partner in 1995.
Having grown up in a family involved in government and politics, Judge Ray ran for the State Senate in 1996 for the 48th District, comprised of parts of Gwinnett, Forsyth, and Fulton Counties. He served in the Senate for six years, serving on the Judiciary, Special Judiciary, Rules, Appropriations, Natural Resources, and Transportation Committees. He also served on the Governor's Education Reform Commission from 1999-2000. Judge Ray's legislative achievements include the passage of Heidi's Law, which at the time represented a comprehensive overhaul and toughening of DUI laws in the state.
On January 14, 2002, Judge Ray took the oath of office as a Superior Court Judge for the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit, having been appointed by then Governor Roy Barnes to fill an unexpired term. He was re-elected in November of 2002, 2006, and 2010. In 2005, Judge Ray founded the Gwinnett Drug Treatment Court, among the first handful of treatment courts in Georgia, and he served as its Presiding Judge for seven years. He also served for many years as the Chair of the Legislation Committee of the Council of Superior Court Judges, and most recently, as the Secretary-Treasurer of this statewide governing council of the 200 plus Superior Court Judges. He has also served as a Trustee on Board of the Judicial Retirement System.
On July 30, 2012, Governor Nathan Deal administered the oath of office to Judge Ray to serve as the 76th Judge of the Court of Appeals of Georgia.
Judge Ray has been married since 1989 to Dr. Kelle Chandler Ray, who is a clinical psychologist who practices in Lawrenceville, Georgia. They have three sons, Chandler (17), Davis (15), and Avery (13), and they reside in Grayson, Georgia in Gwinnett County.