William Cooper Thompson was born in January 1962. Judge Thompson grew up in Autauga and Elmore Counties. He attended the University of Alabama, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1984. He attended the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University and was awarded his Juris Doctor degree in 1988.
Judge Thompson, a resident of Homewood, was elected to the Court of Civil Appeals in 1996 and was reelected to the court in 2002, 2008, and 2014. He became presiding judge of the Court of Civil Appeals in 2007. Prior to serving as an appellate judge, Judge Thompson practiced law in both Birmingham and Montgomery, including serving as the assistant legal advisor to the Governor of Alabama.
Judge Thompson is a member of the Alabama Court Improvement Project Advisory Committee, the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism, and the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal. He is also a member of the Appellate Rules Committee, the Legislative Coordinating Council, and the Judicial System Study Commission. He is the chairman of the Committee on the Future of the Juvenile Justice System. He served for over 10 years as the chief judge of the Court of the Judiciary and is a former advisory board member of the Service Guild of Birmingham's Early Intervention Program, a former member of the Alabama Juvenile Code Revision Committee, and a former member of the board of directors of Children First.
He is married to the former Melinda Rainey of Greenville, Alabama and they have three children. The family attends St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.