Speaker Bio

Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.) is Of Counsel at Jones Day and a former U.S. Court of Appeals judge. She was nominated to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois in 1985, making her the first woman of color to serve on a district court in the three-state Seventh Circuit.

In 1999, after her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Judge Williams became 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 has partnered with judiciaries, attorneys, NGOs, and the U.S. Departments of Justice and State to promote the effective delivery of justice worldwide, particularly in Africa. The Commission on Professionalism works closely with Judge Williams on Jumpstart, an educational program that supports underrepresented minority law students in their first year of law school and teaches them best practices to become successful lawyers.