Gary Williams aims to help students become lawyers who help civil rights activists. His passion is public interest law, and he is a member of the board of directors, the Executive Committee, and the Legal Committee of the ACLU of Southern California. Williams teaches Loyola Law School students how to do that work, such as protecting free speech, student and employee rights, medical rights, and the right to privacy.
As co-counsel on a police malpractice class-action lawsuit, he is working on behalf of African-American residents of Venice, California, who were subjected to unconstitutional searches of their homes and persons.
Influenced as a young man by the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall, he says, “I wanted to effect change too.” His two pet projects at Loyola Law School are making a difference: a civil rights practicum that puts law students in touch with others in the field; and a young lawyers program brings L.A. high school students into the courtroom, culminating in their being actors in four mock trials with real judges.
“What I do now supports the next generation as they continue to tackle civil rights problems,” says Williams, who was on staff at the national ACLU for eight years. “It is clear there is still lots and lots of work to be done.”