Speakers

Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.)

Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.)

Of Counsel, Jones Day; Former Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Judge Williams heads Jones Day’s efforts in advancing the rule of law in Africa. Devoted to promoting the effective delivery of justice worldwide, particularly in Africa, she has partnered with judiciaries, attorneys, NGOs, and the U.S. Departments of Justice and State to lead training programs in Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. She also has taught at the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

President Ronald Reagan nominated her in 1985 to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, making her the first woman of color to serve on a district court in the three-state Seventh Circuit. In 1999, President William Clinton’s nomination made her the first and only judge of color to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the third woman of color to serve on any federal circuit court.  

Judge Williams has served on many judicial committees and, as treasurer and president of the Federal Judges Association, was the first person of color to become an officer.  Committed to public interest work she helped found Just The Beginning — A Pipeline Organization, the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Chicago, Minority Legal Education Resources, and the Public Interest Fellowship Program for Equal Justice Works.  She serves on the boards of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, University of Notre Dame, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Weinstein International Foundation, iCivics, and Museum of Science & Industry Chicago.