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Mary Ellen Coster Williams

Mary Ellen Coster Williams

Judge Williams was appointed to the United States Court of Federal Claims on July 21, 2003. In 1974, she graduated summa cum laude from Catholic University where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Latin and Greek and a Master’s degree in Latin. In 1977, Judge Williams received her J.D. from the Duke University School of Law, where she served on the Editorial Board of the Duke Law Journal.

From March 6, 1989 to July 18, 2003, Judge Williams served as an administrative judge on the General Services Administration Board of Contract Appeals (“Board”), where she resolved federal government contract cases. From 1987 to 1989, Judge Williams was a partner in the law firm of Janis, Schuelke and Weschler, focusing on civil litigation. Prior to joining the law firm, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in Washington, D.C., from 1983 until 1987. Before joining the DOJ, Judge Williams was an associate with Schnader, Harrison, Segal and Lewis from 1979 to 1983 and with Fulbright and Jaworski from 1977 to 1979.

Throughout her career, Judge Williams has been active in bar associations and professional organizations. She currently serves on the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association (“ABA”). From 2002 to 2003, she was the Chair of the ABA’s Section of Public Contract Law, having served as the Section’s Chair-Elect, Vice Chair, and Secretary. She was the Section’s delegate to the ABA House of Delegates from 2003 to 2008. Judge Williams also served as the section representative on the ABA Committee on Ethics and Professionalism and the ABA Commission on Evaluation of Rules of Professional Conduct from 1998 to 2000 and chaired the Ad Hoc Committee on Model Rules of Professional Responsibility of the Bar Association of D.C. in the early 1980’s. From 2009 to 2010, she served on the ABA’s Commission on Youth At Risk. She was a member of the ABA President’s Task Force on Government Lawyers from 2000 to 2001 and was elected a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 1985. Judge Williams has also served the Bar Association of the District of Columbia in many capacities, as its Foundation president, as a Trustee, and as a member of its Board of Directors. In addition, Judge Williams was Chair of the D.C. Young Lawyers Section, Secretary of the D.C. Bar, and a member of the Policy Board for Legal Counsel for the Elderly.

Judge Williams has taught Remedies and Administrative Law at the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University, since 2004, and also serves as an adjunct professor in the Advanced Academic Program for Law and Government at Johns Hopkins University, where she has taught Intellectual Property Law, Litigation with the Federal Government, Government Contracts, The American Civil Trial, and Legal Method. She has also lectured extensively on various legal topics, including civil trial practice and government contracts.

Judge Williams was born and raised in Flushing, New York. She is married and has two children.

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Guest Appearances
August 26, 2019

ABA Annual Meeting 2019: Practice Tips for Construction Litigation

Panel moderator Kathryn Muldoon Griffin and judges Margaret M. Sweeney, Thomas C. Wheeler, and Mary Ellen Coster Williams discuss best practices for construction litigation.