National Bar Association honors Jones Day's Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.) with Sankofa Award and Hall of Fame induction
Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.), who leads Jones Day's efforts in advancing the rule of law in Africa, was honored twice by the National Bar Association (NBA) during its 94th Annual Convention, which took place July 20th through 26th in New York. She received the 2019 Sankofa Award and also was inducted into the National Bar Association Hall of Fame.
Founded in 1925, the National Bar Association is the nation's oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges. The NBA Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 1986 by then-President Fred D. Gray Sr., to honor lawyers who have made significant contributions to the cause of justice. The Sankofa Award, established in 2004, honors individuals who have made a profound impact on education opportunity in the United States.
Based in the Firm's Chicago Office, Judge Williams is 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, and Uganda. She also has taught at the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
President Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Williams in 1985 to the U.S. District Court for the 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 Bill 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 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.