The PBEye was saddened to learn of the passing of our friend and pro bono champion, Tom Williamson, former President of the D.C. Bar. Throughout his 40-year career, Williamson was a staunch advocate for access to justice for all and civil rights. He eloquently reminded us that “[a]ccess to justice is my number one priority…I believe reverently that we have to continue to pay attention to meeting a higher standard of making access to justice a reality and not just an ideal for everyone in our community.” His passion was exemplified in 2007, when he received the Wiley A. Branton award by the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, which honored his work championing equal rights. Williamson was a partner at Covington & Burling*†, held positions at the Department of Energy and Department of Labor, and served as the president of the D.C. Bar. Covington colleague spoke kindly of Williamson and his values:
“[W]hat was most striking about Tom to me was the thoughtfulness and empathy he exhibited as a mentor to generations of young, and not so young, men and women within our law firm and in the larger community. He genuinely cared about people, and hardly a day passed in which, over lunch or in a hallway chat, Tom didn’t take the time to think about and offer wise counsel to someone about his or her career or just life in general.”
The passing of Tom Williamson is a profound loss for his family, friends, colleagues, and the entire pro bono community.
* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Signatory
† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® Member