CHICAGO — The first African-American to sit on the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is retiring from the bench in December.

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports several prominent judges from Chicago and around the country spoke at a recent event honoring the 68-year-old Ann Claire Williams.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge LaShonda Hunt called Williams a “trailblazer” who cleared the way for other minorities aspiring to legal careers.

Williams served as a U.S. district judge in Chicago for 14 years after her appointment at just 35-years-old by Ronald Reagan in 1985. Bill Clinton named her to the appellate court in 1999.

Williams enrolled at Notre Dame Law School after teaching elementary school in Detroit. She earned her law degree in 1975.

Information from: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin ,

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