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Covington’s Williamson Sworn in as D.C. Bar President


WASHINGTON, DC, June 25, 2012 — Tom Williamson, co-chair of the firm’s employment practice group, was sworn in as president of the D.C. Bar on June 19.

The Honorable Eric Holder introduced Mr. Williamson at the swearing in ceremony, while Chief Judge Eric Washington of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals administered the oath of office.

“To this new post, Tom brings sound judgment, great skill, and an inspiring sense of purpose,” Mr. Holder said. “Not only is Tom a consummate professional and dedicated attorney, he is someone you can count on – and trust. And he’s precisely the type of public servant – and leader – that our justice system, and our nation’s second largest bar association, needs.”

Mr. Williamson is deeply committed to the role that lawyers can play in the community. This commitment is reflected in his three principal goals for the Bar during his term as president: supporting legal services for those who cannot afford them; expanding the Bar’s collaboration with the D.C. courts; and providing consultation and support for lawyers in transition.

“I will emphasize the importance of renewing and expanding the Bar’s commitment to promoting and supporting access to justice for the most needy and the most vulnerable residents of the D.C. community,” Mr. Williamson said during his inauguration speech.

“We are a profession that believes we have an ethical responsibility to ensure that all persons, regardless of wealth, are treated fairly by the legal system,” Mr. Williamson said. “And we know that ideal is a mere rhetorical illusion if the poor are not represented by lawyers.”

“The Bar is responsible for helping as many lawyers as possible to participate in legal assistance that will protect the rights and advance the interests of those who cannot afford legal counsel,” Mr. Williamson further stated.

Throughout his legal career Mr. Williamson has been active in the Bar. He was a member of its Board of Governors from 1989 to 1992, and a member of the Pro Bono Committee from 1997 to 2003. He has served on the board of the D.C. Bar Foundation. Mr. Williamson is currently a member of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission and has served on the D.C. Judicial Nominations Commission and Delegate Norton’s Federal Law Enforcement Nomination Commission for recommending federal judges.

Mr. Williamson has spent his entire private practice career at Covington since first joining the firm in 1974, but he has also had significant experience in the federal government. He served as Solicitor of the Department of Labor from 1993 to 1996 and served as Deputy Inspector General of the then-newly formed Department of Energy from 1978 to 1981.

From his early years at Covington, Mr. Williamson has actively sought opportunities to handle pro bono matters, including an eight-month stint as a staff lawyer for the Neighborhood Legal Services Program. He recently assisted in the defense of the District’s enacted same sex marriage law. In addition, he has worked on race and disability discrimination class actions.

In 2007, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs recognized Williamson as the winner of the Wiley Branton Award for his pro bono legal work to advance equality and civil rights.

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