Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge and Notre Dame Law School graduate Ann Claire Williams has joined Jones Day to lead the international law firm’s effort in advancing the rule of law in Africa.
In a press release announcing the hire, Jones Day stated it has a long history of providing clients with legal assistance on matters in Africa and working on rule of law projects in Africa. Jones Day managing partner Stephen Brogan said Williams will be a valuable leader for the initiative.
“If globalization is to be a force for human development, the rule of law must be at its center,” Brogan said. “Jones Day has long been devoted to advancing the rule of law around the world. There is no better person to lead Jones Day’s work in this regard in Africa than Ann.”
Williams, the first African-American judge to serve on the 7th Circuit and the third African-American woman to serve on any U.S. Court of Appeals, assumed senior status June 5, 2017.
She was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan, becoming the first woman of color to serve on a district court in the 7th Circuit. In 1999, she was nominated to the 7th Circuit by President Bill Clinton.
Over the past 17 years, Williams has led a number of international delegations, teaching trial and appellate advocacy at the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, as well as traveling to Kenya, Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, where she trained judges and lawyers on a variety of legal topics including domestic and gender violence, human and wildlife trafficking, judicial ethics and opinion writing, and civil and criminal case management. Partners in this effort were Lawyers Without Borders, the U.S. departments of Justice and State, the Virtue Foundation, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Fordham Law School, and the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School.
“Strengthening the rule of law is a key global priority,” Williams said. “Jones Day has presented me with the extraordinary and unique opportunity to continue my work in partnering with African legal communities by enhancing court systems that promote effective delivery of justice and by promoting the rule of law through the development of educational and training programs.”