2019: Professional Achievement Award

Lucy A. Williams, JD’74

  • Professor of Law, Faculty Director, Center for Public Interest Advocacy and Collaboration

Boston, MA

Lucy Williams is a professor of law at Northeastern University Law School, faculty director of its Center for Public Interest Advocacy and Collaboration, and co-director of its Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy. She previously practiced law for 17 years on behalf of people on the West Side of Chicago and later at Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. She specialized in high-impact class-action litigation, chaired legislative and regulatory task forces, and trained poverty lawyers throughout the country.

Massachusetts Governor William Weld appointed her to serve on his Advisory Council on Women’s Issues, and President Bill Clinton placed her on his Advisory Council on Unemployment Compensation. Several of the advisory council’s reform proposals were enacted into law in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Williams has served as a fellow of the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (Bergen, Norway), is the Convener of the “Community of Practice on International Poverty Law” under the auspices of the World Bank’s Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development, and serves on the advisory board of Nazdeek, a legal capacity-building organization committed to bringing access to justice closer to marginalized communities in India.

For the past 10 years, she developed and convened the International Social and Economic Rights Project, a group of international academics, judges and activists working to encourage transformative thinking about social and economic rights and SER-based legal strategies. She received a Fulbright Specialist award to teach at Wuhan Law School (China) in 2018.