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Verna L. Williams


Verna L. Williams

Interim Dean and Nippert Professor of Law


BS, Georgetown University
JD, Harvard Law School

Areas of Interest

  • Constitutional Law
  • Critical Race Theory/Race and the Law
  • Family Law
  • Feminist Legal Theory

Professor Williams joined the College of Law in 2001 after practicing many years in the areas of civil and women’s rights. With Professor Kristin Kalsem, she co-directs the university’s joint-degree program in Law and Women’s Studies, a signature program of the College of Law. Professor Williams teaches in the areas of family law, gender discrimination, and constitutional law. In 2004 and 2011, she received the Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence.

Prior to joining the faculty, Professor Williams practiced law in the private and public sectors. She was Vice President and Director of Educational Opportunities at the National Women’s Law Center, where she focused on issues of gender equity in education. During her time at the Center, Professor Williams was 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. She also practiced at the Department of Justice and at Sidley Austin LLP. Professor Williams began her legal career clerking for the Honorable David S. Nelson, U.S. District Judge for the District of Massachusetts.

Professor Williams’ research examines the intersection of race, gender, and class in education law and policy. She has presented papers at numerous conferences, including meetings of the American Association of Law Schools, the Association of Law, Culture and the Humanities, and the Latina/o Critical Race Theory Conference. Professor Williams also has served as a consultant for the Ford Foundation; in that capacity, she chaired the convening of a national conference at UC entitled Women Coming Together: Claiming the Law for Social Change.

This year, Professor Williams was listed in The Women's Book (2012 Cincinnati edition), which includes profiles of a diverse range of women who are succeeding in their careers and giving back to their communities.


Articles, Essays & Book Reviews


  • Ninth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference; Panelist: “Considering Criminalization and Gun Control through a Gender Lens,” University of Baltimore School of Law, March 2016.
  • Ninth Annual Lutie Lytle Black Law Faculty Writing Workshop; Work-in-Progress: “Gun Safety as a Matter of Reproductive Justice,” Vanderbilt University, July 2015.
  • “The Moynihan Report: 50 Years Later,” Georgetown Journal of Law & Modern Critical Race Perspectives Symposium; Panelist: “The Black Family,” Georgetown University Law Center, February 2014.
  • Conversation with Olympia Snowe; Moderator and Interviewer: The Women’s Fund of Greater Cincinnati, March 2014.
  • Feminism and Human Rights Meeting; Invited Participant, Pauli Murray Project and Duke Human Rights Center, Duke University, June 2013 and October 2012.
  • Women’s Economic Justice Roundtable; Invited Participant, Ford Foundation, January 2013.
  • Does Reparations Have A Future? Rethinking Racial Justice in a ‘Color-Blind’ Era, University of Virginia (March 2013)
  • Education Reform and Feminist Legal Theory, Chicago-Kent School of Law (February 2005)
  • More than a Paycheck: Education Reform as a Means of Reparations, University of Maryland School of Law (September 2004)
  • Single Sex Education and the Construction of Race and Gender Hierarchies, University of Tennessee (April 2004)
  • Single Sex Education and the Bush Administration, University of Pittsburgh School of Law (March 2004)
  • The Formal Equality Trap: Considering Race in Admissions, Western Michigan University School of Social Work (April 2002)
  • The Push for Single Sex Education: Implications for Gender Equity, Colorado State University (November 2002)
  • A Fly in the Buttermilk: Reflections on Gender, Race, and Diversity, University of Pittsburgh School of Law (November 2001)
  • Integration as a Compelling State Interest, University of Cincinnati College of Law (October 2001)
  • Constitutional Law
  • Family Law
  • Gender and the Law