/ Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 1, 2023 – Verna Williams, CEO of Equal Justice Works (EJW), has been named to the third annual Forbes 50 Over 50 Impact list. The list highlights women stepping into their power and accelerating their careers to reach the highest echelons of their field, especially those who have overcome significant odds.
“Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to closing the justice gap in this country as a lawyer, educator, and academic. My work with Equal Justice Works allows me to continue pursuing this passion, while simultaneously advancing diversity and representation within the legal profession,” said Verna Williams, CEO of Equal Justice Works. “I am honored to be included on this year’s Forbes 50 Over 50 Impact list along with so many incredible women who have made it their life’s work to change the world for the better.”
Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to closing the justice gap in this country as a lawyer, educator, and academic. My work with Equal Justice Works allows me to continue pursuing this passion, while simultaneously advancing diversity and representation within the legal profession.
Verna Williams /
CEO, Equal Justice Works
As CEO of EJW, Verna has been dedicated to advancing the organization’s mission to create opportunities for leaders to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. After joining the organization in September 2022, Verna shared her vision for the organization to expand its network of law firms, legal affairs and civil rights organizations, and law schools while also diversifying the public interest law sector by making a career in public service more accessible to those interested in entering the profession.
For over 35 years, EJW has worked to build a talented pipeline of aspiring public service leaders, connecting entry-level lawyers with legal service organizations serving local communities on issues related to housing justice, disaster relief, immigration reform, racial justice, and more. EJW’s model is a proven method for increasing access to careers in public service: more than 85 percent of Fellows remain in public service after their Fellowships, making EJW a leader in the access to justice movement.
Verna has an extensive background of experience teaching and practicing law, as well as researching civil and women’s rights. Verna previously served as the dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she was a professor before being appointed dean. She taught courses on family law, gender discrimination, and constitutional law and researched the role of race and gender in public policy. Additionally, she co-founded and co-directed the Judge Nathaniel Jones Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice at the University of Cincinnati.
Before her work at the University of Cincinnati, Verna was the Vice President and Director of Educational Opportunities at the National Women’s Law Center, where she focused on gender equity in education. In this role, she was the lead counsel and successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, which established that educational institutions have a duty to respond to and address complaints of student-to-student sexual harassment. Additionally, Verna clerked for the Honorable David S. Nelson, U.S. District Judge for the District of Massachusetts and practiced law at both Sidley Austin LLP and the U.S. Department of Justice.
About Equal Justice Works
Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. As the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, advocates, legal services organizations, and supporters to build a community committed to fulfilling our nation’s promise of equal justice for all.
Visit www.equaljusticeworks.org for more information.