Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.) appointed Co-Chair of the Racial Justice Diversity Committee for the Northern District of Illinois
Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.), of counsel in Jones Day's Chicago Office, has been appointed to serve as Co-Chair of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois's new Racial Justice Diversity Committee.
The Committee, appointed by Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, will independently review procedures and practices to aid the Court in addressing racial disparities and will evaluate methods to help overcome barriers to achieving equal justice for all. In doing so, the Committee will study diversity at all staffing levels of the federal district court, as well as the general bar, trial bar, court monitors, special masters and receivers, Criminal Justice Act panel, and lawyers who serve as lead and liaison counsel in multidistrict litigation proceedings. The Committee will release a public report with its recommendations.
Along with Judge Williams, the Committee will be chaired by the Honorable Rubén Castillo (Ret.), the court's most recent Chief Judge. The 11-member committee includes three other former judges and other members of the Chicago legal community.
Judge Williams, long devoted to promoting the effective delivery of justice worldwide, leads Jones Day's efforts in advancing the rule of law 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 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 Black woman 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 NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, University of Notre Dame, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Weinstein International Foundation, iCivics, and Museum of Science & Industry Chicago.