Born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming, William Perry Pendley received B.A. and M.A. degrees in Economics and Political Science from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
He was a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, after which he received his J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law, where he was Senior Editor on Land and Water Law Review.
He served as an attorney to former Senator Clifford P. Hansen (R-Wyoming) and to the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee. During the Reagan Administration, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy and Minerals of the Department of Interior, where he authored President Reagan's National Minerals Policy and Exclusive Economic Zone proclamation.
He was a consultant to former Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman, Jr., and was engaged in the private practice of law in the Washington, D.C., area before his return to the West in 1989. He is admitted to practice law in Wyoming, Colorado, Washington, D.C., and Virginia.
Pendley is now President and Chief Legal Officer at the Mountain States Legal Foundation.