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Judge Ann Claire Williams: Championing advancement for so many

Judge Ann Claire Williams’ judicial career can be succinctly characterized by one word: advancement. This rings true to the remarkable strides she has made personally, and the impactful efforts she has been involved in to champion the advancement of others.

Most notably, in 1999, she was the first African American person appointed to the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit – thus making her the third African American woman to serve on any federal circuit court.

Following her retirement from judicial service in 2018, she set her sights to work full-time on promoting justice and advancing the rule of law in Africa. She has continued her work with judges and lawyers to lead training programs in Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

On March 24 2022, she represented the American Bar Association and testified at the confirmation hearing of historic Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. She delivered a comprehensive statement outlining the exceptional experience displayed by Judge Jackson that deems her more than qualified for an appointment on the Supreme Court.

You may have also caught Judge Williams in conversation with pioneer women judges in IAWL’s African Women in Law Legacy Project. The series offers an opportunity for audiences to dive deeper into the early life experiences, careers, and legacies of African women judges in their own words as we build richer archives of the advancements they steer.

Watch the series on our YouTube channel here:


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