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April 28, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC — The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia awarded Tom Williamson with its Servant of Justice Award at its 27th Annual Servant of Justice Awards Dinner. Mr. Williamson, who joined Covington in 1974 and has spent his entire private practice career at the firm, was recognized for making the struggle for equal justice a core part of his personal and professional identity and for his extraordinary contributions to the cause of access to justice in Washington and beyond.
Mr. Williamson’s dedication to service and leadership on both local and national pro bono matters is a hallmark of his career. Shortly after joining the firm as an associate, he volunteered for the firm’s civil justice rotation program, serving for eight months as a legal services attorney at the Neighborhood Legal Services Program. This early commitment to ensuring access to justice for low-income individuals and families facing high-impact civil matters not only became a common thread of Mr. Williamson’s subsequent pro bono endeavors, but also marked his approach to leadership. As President of the D.C. Bar from 2012 until 2013, one of his principal goals was to support and enhance legal services for those who could not afford them. As a commissioner of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission, he continues to make expanding access to justice a priority.
Mr. Williamson also has a significant record of important and successful civil rights work advancing equal justice for marginalized communities. In recent years, he played a significant role in defending Washington’s same-sex marriage law. Throughout his career, he has used his expertise in employment law to lead a number of race and disability discrimination class actions, including a nationwide class action to obtain dramatic improvements in American Sign Language interpreter services for thousands of hearing-impaired employees of the U.S. Postal Service. In 2007, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs honored Mr. Williamson with the Wiley Branton Award, recognizing his contributions to advancing civil rights in the District.
Mr. Williamson joins other Covington lawyers who have received the Servant of Justice Award, including Tony Herman, Charles Horsky, David Isbell, Peter Nickles, Chuck Ruff, and Howard Westwood, as well as the firm’s former pro bono coordinator Blossom Athey. Eric Holder received this award while he was at the Department of Justice.
For over 25 years, the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia has presented the Servant of Justice Award to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated faithful dedication and remarkable achievement in ensuring that all people have equal and meaningful access to justice.