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 graduated from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University with a Juris Doctor degree in 1988.
Judge Thompson, a resident of Homewood, was elected to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in 1996 and was re-elected to the court in 2002, 2008, and 2014. He became presiding judge of the court in 2007. Prior to serving as an appellate judge, Judge Thompson practiced law in both Birmingham and Montgomery, including serving as assistant legal advisor to the Governor of Alabama and working in the law firm of former Chief Justice Perry O. Hooper, Sr.
Judge Thompson is a member of the Judicial Inquiry Commission, the Alabama Court Improvement Project, and the Advisory Committee on Child Support Guidelines. He has served on the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism, the Appellate Rules Committee, the Judicial Study Commission, the Alabama Juvenile Code Revision Committee, and the Committee on the Future of the Juvenile Justice System. Judge Thompson served as the Chief Judge of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary for ten years. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, a former member of the advisory board of the Service Guild of Birmingham's Early Intervention Program, and a former member of the board of directors of Children First.
Judge Thompson is married to author Melinda Rainey Thompson formerly of Greenville, Alabama, and they have three children. The family attends St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.