Zuberi Williams

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Zuberi Williams
Judge Zuberi Williams Folded Arms Pic.jpg
Associate Judge, Maryland District Court
Assumed office
January 6, 2015 (2015-01-06)
Nominated byGovernor Martin O'Malley
Preceded byHonorable Karla N. Smith
Personal details
Born (1978-12-01) December 1, 1978 (age 40)
Washington, D.C.
Alma mater

Zuberi Bakari Williams (born December 1, 1978) is an associate judge of the District Court of Maryland, District VI - Montgomery County.[1] He was appointed by former Governor Martin O'Malley in December 2014.[2] He was later confirmed by the Maryland State Senate and sworn in on January 6, 2015.[1] At the age of 36, Williams has the distinction of being one of the youngest judges to be appointed in Maryland history.[3]


Williams's father was raised in inner city Chicago, Illinois, and his mother immigrated to the United States from Guyana, South America. Williams was born at Howard University Hospital, Washington, DC, on December 1, 1978. His parents settled in Southern Maryland.

College, Law School, and Business School[edit]

Williams attended Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas, on an academic scholarship.[1] While at TCU, Williams served on the Student Government Association as parliamentarian and earned a Bachelor of Business degree from the nationally ranked Neeley School of Business.[4] He briefly lived in Guadalajara, Mexico, and received a minor in Spanish culture and language.

Williams was accepted into American University's joint JD/MBA program in Washington DC in 2000. While at American University's Washington College of Law (WCL), Williams was a staff member of the American University Administrative Law Review and a student attorney with the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic.[5] He also was a member of the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) and Business Law Society. Additionally, during his final year, Williams was a recipient of the Edward J. Walker Clinical Scholarship Award and appointed to the Admissions Committee.[6] Most notably, he was elected by his colleagues to deliver the 2003 WCL Commencement Address.[6] Williams was named to the WCL Dean's Diversity Council and often speaks on panels.[7]

Williams earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from American University's Kogod School of Business.[8]

Post law school[edit]

State clerkship[edit]

After law school, Williams earned a prestigious clerkship with Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge of Maryland's highest court, Maryland Court of Appeals, and the first African-American Chief Judge in Maryland history.[9]

Private law firm[edit]

In 2004, Williams joined Venable LLP, a top 20 ranked DC law firm by the National Law Journal and an AmLaw 100 law firm.[10] There, he was a member of the White Collar Crime practice group.[3]

Federal clerkship[edit]

In 2005, Williams pursued a federal clerkship with United States District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee at the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria). Judge Lee had 2 clerks in his chambers that term: (1) Judge Williams, who reached the bench at age 36[11] and (2) Justin Fairfax, who was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2017 at the age of 38.[12]

During their clerkship, Judge Lee's chambers handled many high-profile cases, including the following:

  • Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, convicted of providing material support to Al-Qaeda and a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States.
  • MS-13 Gang Members, sentenced for the murder of an ex-gang member who turned states witness.
  • Candice Martinez (aka Cell Phone Bandit), a college student sentenced for a series of bank robberies while on a cell phone.
  • AIG Former Insurance Executives were charged with 13 counts of conspiracy, fraud and making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Government attorney[edit]

In 2007, Williams was sworn in as an assistant Attorney General for the District of Columbia, where he tried cases involving employment discrimination, personal injury, false arrest, police assault, inmate assaults, and whistleblower claims in both federal and state courts.[3]

Administrative law judge[edit]

In 2010, Judge Williams was appointed as an Administrative Law Judge at the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings. There, he presided over hundreds of cases including those concerning DUIs, child abuse and neglect, conditional release, involuntary admission to mental facilities, and wrongful employment termination.[13]

District court judge[edit]

On December 30, 2014, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced the appointment of Williams to the District Court in Montgomery County, Maryland.[14] At the age of 36, Williams has the distinction of being one of the youngest judges to be appointed in Maryland history.[3] He was later confirmed by the Maryland State Senate and sworn in on January 6, 2015.[1]

In 2016, he was appointed as chair of the District Court Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).[15] Also, he was invited to be a contributing participant in the Maryland General Assembly legislative initiative called the Justice Reinvestment Act. It is the largest and most comprehensive criminal justice reform in Maryland history.[16][17][18]

In 2017, Williams was appointed to the prestigious Judicial Compensation Committee.

Professional awards[edit]

In 2018, Williams was named as the Maryland Daily Record's VIP List of Most successful by 40.[19] The list honors the next generation of leaders across Maryland.

In 2018, Williams was named as the National Bar Association's 40 Under 40 Nation’s Best Advocates.[20] The award recognizes the nation’s top 40 lawyers under the age 40 who exemplify a broad range of high achievement in the legal field, including in advocacy, innovation, vision, leadership and overall legal and community involvement.

In 2017, Williams was named Top 40 Under 40 Emerging Leader in the Washington Metropolitan area by The Leadership Center for Excellence.[21][22] He has the distinction of being the first Judge to win the award.[23]

In 2016, Williams was spotlighted by the ABA's Section on Litigation for his participation in Judicial Interneship Opportunity Program (JIOP).[3]

In 2015, Williams received the North Star Award from the Sylvania Woods African Americans in the Law Conference.[24]

In 2008, Williams received the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General's (OAG) Extra Mile Attorney Award.

In 2005, Williams received the Hariston Alumni Award by the Sylvania Woods African Americans in the Law Conference.


  1. ^ a b c d "Maryland Manual Online: A Guide To Maryland And Its Government". msa.maryland.gov. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  2. ^ Bui, Lynh (December 30, 2014). "Md. Gov. O'Malley Appoints 10 District, Circuit Court Judges". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  3. ^ a b c d e Clay, Aaron (March 8, 2016). "ABA Section on Litigation JIOP Alumni Spotlight: The Honorable Zuberi Bakari Williams". American Bar Association (ABA). Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  4. ^ "Bloomberg Businessweek Rankings - TCU - The Neeley School of Business". neeley.tcu.edu. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  5. ^ Phillips, Victoria (2015-01-14). "IP Clinic Alum Zu Williams Appointed to Bench in Maryland". WCL Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  6. ^ a b "WCL Alumni Spotlight - Zuberi Williams". American University's Washington College of Law. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  7. ^ "Dean's Diversity Council Program and Dinner Gives Inside Look at Careers in the Judicial Sector". WCL. Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  8. ^ "Ballotpedia - Zuberi Bakari Williams". Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  9. ^ Burke, Sonya (2014-12-30). "Governor O'Malley Appoints Ten Judges". My Montgomery County Media. Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  10. ^ "Venable ranked among top 20 law firms in DC by National Law Journal". www.venable.com. August 3, 2015. Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  11. ^ Weiner, Rachel (May 4, 2017). "Federal judge who worked to increase diversity in legal profession set to retire". Washington Post.
  12. ^ Sullivan, Patricia (November 7, 2017). "Democrats Fairfax, Herring win Virginia lieutenant governor, attorney general races". Washington Post.
  13. ^ "Judicial Appointments" (PDF). The Bar Association of Montgomery County Newsletter. February 2015.
  14. ^ "Md. Gov. O'Malley appoints 10 district, circuit court judges". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  15. ^ "C-DRUM Hosts Maryland Judiciary Alternative Dispute Resolution Research Symposium".
  16. ^ "Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention in Maryland". goccp.maryland.gov. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  17. ^ Dresser, Michael (May 19, 2016). "Hogan signs bill to overhaul Maryland criminal justice system". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  18. ^ Associated Press (2016-04-12). "A look at key provisions in Justice Reinvestment Act". WTOP. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  19. ^ "The Daily Record announces 2018 VIP List". Maryland Daily Record.
  20. ^ Pittman, Nick (June 8, 2018). "2018 National Bar Association "40 Under 40" Award Recipients Announced".
  21. ^ "'40 Under 40' celebration lauds engaged young professionals". Inside NOVA. December 7, 2017.
  22. ^ "Leadership Center For Excellence's Top 40 Under 40 (2017)". Leadership Center For Excellece.
  23. ^ "Sun Gazette 40 Under 40 (2017)". Sun Gazette.
  24. ^ "19th Annual Sylvania Woods Conference Celebrates African Americans in Law". Retrieved 2016-07-23.