News

Equal Justice Works Names Verna Williams as CEO

/ Press Release

Photo of Verna L. Williams
Photo of Verna Williams, courtesy of the University of Cincinnati College of Law
WASHINGTON, July 21, 2022  — Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, today announced that Verna Williams will be the organization’s new CEO.

Verna comes to Equal Justice Works from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she currently serves as the dean, and brings decades of experience both practicing and teaching law, specializing in constitutional law, critical race theory, race and the law, family law, and feminist legal theory. In her role as CEO, Verna will build on the 36-year history of Equal Justice Works, an organization founded by law students, which currently has more than 200 Fellows and 2,300 alumni, 85% of whom remain in public service positions following their Fellowship.

“The mission of Equal Justice Works to create opportunities for leaders to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service is an admirable one that means so much to me personally. Throughout my career, while I was at the Department of Justice, the National Women’s Law Center, and the University of Cincinnati College of Law, public interest law has truly been at the heart of my work, especially with a focus on civil rights and women’s rights. At this time, when economic security remains out of reach for too many and long-standing legal protections are in jeopardy, the mission of Equal Justice Works and the work of the Fellows is more important than ever. It’s an honor to join this organization,” said Verna Williams, incoming CEO of Equal Justice Works.

“Verna has an impressive background and experience practicing law, driving educational opportunities in public interest law, and leading a law school — all of which relates to the work and community of Equal Justice Works. She has a clear vision for the future of the organization; a strong record of championing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging; and she has a demonstrated ability to lead and build connections across groups within the community. Given her experience, vision, and personal qualities, I am thrilled and enthusiastic about welcoming Verna to the leadership of Equal Justice Works,” said Ivan Fong, Chair of the Equal Justice Works Board of Directors.

“Verna is an outstanding choice to be the next leader of Equal Justice Works,” said David Stern, Executive Director of Equal Justice Works. “For 30 years, I have been inspired by the students, Fellows, and alumni who are on the front lines challenging systemic injustice and making a lasting impact in the communities where they serve. At a time when injustices proliferate, there is an unprecedented appetite among law students and lawyers to devote themselves to public service. Equal Justice Works is poised to respond, and Verna is the right choice to be the next leader of this organization.”

At this time, when economic security remains out of reach for too many and long-standing legal protections are in jeopardy, the mission of Equal Justice Works and the work of the Fellows is more important than ever. It’s an honor to join this organization.

Verna Williams /
Incoming CEO of Equal Justice Works

Verna most recently served as the Dean of the College of Law at the University of Cincinnati, where she began working as a member of the faculty in 2001 teaching areas of family law, gender discrimination, and constitutional law. She also founded and co-directed the College’s Judge Nathaniel Jones Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice. Prior to her roles at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Verna was the Vice President and Director of Educational Opportunities at the National Women’s Law Center, focusing on gender equity in education. Additionally, Verna clerked for the Honorable David S. Nelson, U.S. District Judge for the District of Massachusetts, and, following her clerkship, she practiced law at Sidley Austin LLP in Washington, DC, and at the U.S. Department of Justice. Verna graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and Georgetown University.

Verna Williams will join Equal Justice Works as CEO on September 19. Learn more about Verna here.

###

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.

Contact
Sarah Lackritz
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Email: [email protected]

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow