Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.) Honored by Posse Foundation
Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.), who leads Jones Day's efforts in advancing the rule of law in Africa, was the 2019 honoree at the Posse Foundation’s Chicago Power of 10 event on Thursday, October 17.
The Posse Foundation identifies and trains talented and diverse young people with extraordinary potential and places them in colleges in supportive, multicultural groups of 10 students. Posse Scholars receive full-tuition scholarships from partner colleges and a range of other support with incredible results, graduating college at a rate of 90 percent. Its signature Power of 10 event recognizes the strength of a Posse of 10 dynamic students and celebrates diversity in higher education and the workforce.
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.