Verna L. Williams was named the new dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Law March 20, making her the first African-American dean in the college’s history, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier.
Williams has been serving as interim dean since April 2017 after former dean Jennifer S. Bard was ousted in March 2017, according to The News Record. Bard was the college’s first female dean.
Williams began her career in law after completing her education at Harvard Law School in 1988. She went on to work for the state department, the National Women’s Law Center and several other law firms.
Much of her career has focused on gender equity in education. In 1999, Williams represented LaShonda Davis in the landmark Supreme Court case Davis v. Monroe Board of Education.
In 2001, Williams joined the UC College of Law. She now co-directs UC’s joint-degree program in law and women’s studies, according to UC.
She also helped former first lady Michelle Obama document her experience in the White House, which played a crucial role in the creation of Obama’s 2018 memoir “Becoming.”
“I’m thrilled and honored to be the next dean of @UCincinnatiLaw,” Williams said in a tweet. “What a privilege to lead this historic institution.”
Founded in 1833, the UC College of Law is the fourth-oldest continuously operating law school in the country, according to UC.