William Cobb was appointed a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Nevada on September 4, 2011, and was reappointed to a second eight year term in 2019. A native of Nevada, he attended the University of Nevada, Reno, and Lewis & Clark Law School. He served in the US Army Reserves (Captain, Air Defense Artillery).  He was previously elected to the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education. 

Prior to his appointment to the federal bench, Judge Cobb was a deputy district attorney in the Washoe County District Attorney’s office.  He later joined the civil litigation law firm of Erickson, Thorpe & Swainston, Ltd., where he practiced law for 33 years and was the firm’s senior and managing partner.  During his career as a civil and criminal trial attorney, Judge Cobb tried approximately 50 jury trials to verdict and was elected to membership in Trial Attorneys of America.  Judge Cobb was a Nevada lawyer delegate to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (Chair, 1991). He is a former president of the Thompson Inn of Court and was honored as a Master Emeritus of the Inn.  He served as a Nevada Supreme Court Settlement Judge for 14 years and was also a Judge Pro Tempore of Nevada’s “Short Trial” program.  He remains a member of the State Bars of Nevada and California, the Washoe County Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, and the American Board of Trial Advocates.  

In his capacity as the District of Nevada’s senior Magistrate Judge, he serves as the District’s representative to the Ninth Circuit Magistrate Judges Executive Board.   He is chair of the State and Federal Judicial Council of Nevada.

Judge Cobb and his wife Cathy, who retired as a CPA from Eide Bailley LLP (formerly Kafoury Armstrong & Co., a firm her father founded in 1941), have four children and five grandchildren.

Judge Cobb maintains his chambers in Reno at the Bruce R. Thompson Federal Courthouse.