William Harnisch was born in Manhattan in 1940 and grew up in Scarsdale and Poland, Ohio. He graduated from Poland Seminary High School in1958, where he was active in football and track. Bill graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1962 with a B.B.A. in finance and was active in football, wrestling, track and boxing. He received his LL.B. degree from Georgetown Law School in 1965 and LL.M. degree from New York University in 1966. After graduation, Bill worked at Cahill Gordon and Reindel (in New York and Washington, D.C.) and later at Townlys Updike as a tax lawyer. Bill and his wife Elizabeth live in Darien. They have four children and six grandchildren. He belongs to the American Bar Association, International Bar Association, New York State Bar