Published on April 5, 2022 by Morgan Black
The 2022 Cordell Hull Speakers Forum held March 31 featured Brigadier General William B. "Bill" Dyer III ’92 who presented "Mission Improbable: Bringing the Rule of Law to a Lawless Afghanistan."
In his presentation, Dyer shared details of how he was asked to lead the NATO effort to establish the rule of law in Afghanistan in 2018. Once in the country, Dyer and his team had nine months to establish a three-part plan that was achievable and sustainable.
Third-year law student Lindsey Yerby served as chair of the 2022 Cordell Hull Speakers Forum.
She said, “We are so grateful to Brigadier General Dyer for joining us for our forum this year. He is the perfect example of the fact that Cumberland lawyers can be found across the nation and in many different capacities. His impressive legal career is an inspiration to all the aspiring lawyers at Cumberland. As a soon to be Cumberland graduate, his speech reminded me that my legal career is only just beginning and no matter where it leads it is my duty to uphold the rule of law even in the most surprising circumstances.”
After earning his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the Virginia Military Institute in 1985, Dyer joined the U.S. Army, followed by receiving his law degree from Cumberland School of Law in 1992.
As the commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command, he executes command and control over 1,800 Army Reserve lawyers and paralegals across 42 states. His lengthy and impressive military career has included several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. His military education includes a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College, as well as the Advanced Joint Professional Military Education course, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the Judge Advocate Officer Basic and Advanced Courses. His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Combat Action Badge.
In addition to his military leadership, Dyer is a partner in the Atlanta office of Lee & Hayes, where he leads the firm’s intellectual property litigation practice, and primarily focuses on patent, trademark and trade secret issues. He has been nationally recognized as a leader in the intellectual property field and is a frequent lecturer on intellectual property topics.
The Cordell Hull Speakers Forum is named for the 1891 graduate Cordell Hull who served as secretary of state under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and became known as the "Father of the United Nations." Established in 1974, the speakers forum is an organization responsible for educating the student body in a variety of areas through its guest speakers. In the past, the forum has included such renowned figures as former presidents of the United States George Bush and Ronald Reagan, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas, Attorney General Janet Reno, author John Grisham and Alabama Governor Bob Riley.
“It was a profound honor to return to Cumberland and share a small part of my journey that was launched here,” Brigadier General Dyer said. “For the past 30 years, I have benefited every day from the lessons learned, relationships forged and capabilities unleashed by Cumberland’s administration, faculty and family. The opportunity to open eyes to the possibilities Cumberland enables was a small token of my appreciation for my experience here.”
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.