William Clifford was born in Lewiston, Maine in 1929. He attended Frye School, Lewiston Junior High School, Jordan Grammar School and Lewiston High School where he graduated in 1946. He then attended Bowdoin College. He served in the army for two years during the Korean War. He attended Boston University Law School under the G.I. Bill. He was the assistant County Attorney under Larry Raymond and then the County Attorney for six years. He served in the 105th Legislature. He also served in the Senate from 1970-1971. He practiced law with his father from 1956-72.
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Burnham-Bestor, Marisa, "Clifford, William H. oral history interview" (1999). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 89.