Ann Claire Williams named to Crain's Chicago Business' "Notable Leaders in DEI" list for 2023
Crain's Chicago Business has named the Hon. Ann Claire Williams (Ret.) to the publication's list of "Notable Leaders in DEI" for 2023. The publication awards executives with this distinction based on a track record of success in their field and the effectiveness of their efforts to measurably advance equality at their organization or in the Chicago area.
Williams is of counsel in the Firm's Issues & Appeals Practice in the Chicago Office where she heads the Firm's pro bono efforts to advance the rule of law in Africa. Locally, she helped to found Just The Beginning — A Pipeline Organization, the Black Women Lawyers' Association of Chicago, Minority Legal Education Resources, and the Jumpstart pre-law school preparation program for first-generation law students and those from groups historically underrepresented in the legal profession at all nine Illinois law schools.
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 Bill Clinton's nomination made her the first 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.
She serves on the boards of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, iCivics, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Weinstein International Foundation, Museum of Science & Industry Chicago, University of Notre Dame (emerita), and National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) (emerita), the Board of Counselors for Equal Justice Works, and chairs the Advisory Board of the International Law Institute-South African Centre for Excellence. She is the current chair of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, serving in that capacity since 2021 and was recognized for her role in the committee's evaluation process for U. S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.