Equal Justice Works CEO Verna Williams to Receive 2024 Miriam M. Netter Stoneman Award

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Albany Law School and the Kate Stoneman Honorary Committee is proud to announce Verna L. Williams, CEO of Equal Justice Works as the 2024 recipient of prestigious Miriam M. Netter ’72 Stoneman Award.

Equal Justice Works—the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law—named Williams as CEO in 2022.

Williams has an extensive background teaching and practicing law, as well as researching civil and women’s rights. Williams previously served as the dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she was a professor prior to becoming dean, and taught courses on family law, gender discrimination, and constitutional law. She also co-founded and co-directed the Judge Nathaniel Jones Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice at the University of Cincinnati.

Verna Williams

“We are thrilled to present Verna Williams with the esteemed Miriam M. Netter ’72 Stoneman Award as part of Albany Law School’s 30th Kate Stoneman Day celebration. Williams’ dedication to the practice and teaching of law coupled with her long record of leadership as a champion of civil and women’s rights and of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging makes her an excellent addition to this exciting celebration of women in law,” said Albany Law School President and Dean Cinnamon P. Carlarne.

Kate Stoneman was the first woman admitted to practice law in New York State and the first woman to graduate from Albany Law School, Class of 1898. Awards are presented each year in her honor. This year, Kate Stoneman Day enters its 30th year and the celebration has become a beloved Albany Law School tradition. This year’s celebration will be held on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. Register Here.

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Before her work at the University of Cincinnati, Williams 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.

Williams clerked for the Honorable David S. Nelson, U.S. District Judge for the District of Massachusetts. After the clerkship, she practiced law at Sidley Austin LLP and the U.S. Department of Justice. She is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and Georgetown University.

Among her other achievements, Williams has presented papers at the Latina/o Critical Race Theory Conference and meetings of the Association of Law, Culture, and the Humanities. She also served as a consultant for the Ford Foundation, where she chaired the convening of a national conference at UC entitled Women Coming Together: Claiming the Law for Social Change.  
Williams received the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2004 and 2011. She was recently honored by the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati, and the Cincinnati Bar Association, which presented her with the Themis Award for exemplary service to the law and the community.

Additional Stoneman Awards, given annually to individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to seeking change and expanding opportunities for women within the legal profession, will be announced at a later date.

Past Stoneman Award honorees include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, New York State Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Honorable Constance Baker Motley, Olympic champion and civil rights lawyer Nancy Hogshead-Makar, former New York Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye—who delivered the inaugural keynote in 1994—and other leaders in the private sector, public service, and academia.


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