Miami Law alumnus Senator Marco Rubio, JD '96, attended a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting last week to introduce fellow Miami Law alumna Kathleen Williams, JD '82, for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami.
President Barack Obama nominated Williams, a federal public defender, to the bench last July and Rubio attended the hearing, along with Senator Bill Nelson, as part of a bipartisan effort to move some of Obama's nominations along. During his introduction, Rubio warmly mentioned that both he and Williams graduated from the University of Miami School of Law. Watch the webcast here. (Go to minute 35:46 to hear Senator Rubio's comments on Kathleen Williams.)
Williams has been Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Florida since 1995. The Palm Beach county native was the first female defender appointed not only in the district but in the entire state. Active in moot court in law school, Williams enjoys returning to UM to judge the competitions.
Although Williams worked at firms over the years, she always returned to government. She spent four years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and five years as the Chief Assistant Federal Public Defender. As Federal Public Defender, she spent six years as chairperson of the Federal Defender Services Advisory Group, representing all federal and community defenders and panel attorneys before the Judicial Conference subcommittee. The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers gave Williams the Founder's Award in 2007, and the American Civil Liberties Union presented her with the C. Clyde Atkins Civil Liberties Award in 2003.
Senator Rubio is the first UM alumnus and the second Cuban-American from Florida to be elected to the U.S. Senate. After graduating from the University of Florida with a B.A. in political science, Rubio attended Miami Law, where he was involved with the Hispanic Law Student Association and the Litigation Skills Program. In 2005, he was the guest speaker at the Dean's Circle Luncheon and was presented with the University of Miami Law Alumni Association Achievement Award.