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Senate confirms Williams to federal bench

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WILMINGTON – Gregory B. Williams, a partner at the Wilmington office of national firm Fox Rothschild LLP and a former president of the state bar association, was confirmed to a U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware judicial seat Wednesday.

Newly appointed federal Judge Gregory Williams poses with Sen. Tom Carper before his May confirmation hearing. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CARPER’S OFFICE

The U.S. Senate voted 52-43 to confirm President Joe Biden’s nomination of Williams to the state’s federal court, filling the seat recently left vacant by Judge Leonard Stark, who was promoted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Six Senate Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in approving Williams, marking another bipartisan judicial confirmation for the Biden administration.

His appointment marks only the second Black judge to sit on that federal court and the only current judge of color. The first Black federal judge in Delaware was Judge Gregory M. Sleet, who served from 1998 to 2018.

Much like the influential state Court of Chancery, Delaware’s federal court is among the nation’s busiest district courts as it hears a number of intellectual property (IP) and corporate lawsuits stemming from the state’s status as an incorporation capital of the country. Much like his judicial predecessor Stark, Williams has built a practice around IP and commercial issues.

In celebrating Williams’ confirmation, Delaware Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons said it was “an important step towards making sure that the federal judiciary reflects the great diversity of Delaware and our nation.”

“Greg’s decades of experience as a litigator, his tenure as president of the Delaware State Bar Association, and familiarity with complex intellectual property and corporate law issues will serve him well as a District Court Judge,” the senators said in a joint statement. “We applaud President Biden for nominating such a qualified, respected attorney to this important post and thank our Senate colleagues for his bipartisan confirmation.”

Williams joined Fox Rothschild LLP in 1995 as an associate and was elevated to partner in 2003. Prior to that, Williams served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1986 to 1992. During his time practicing in Delaware, he has chaired the state’s Judicial Nominating Commission for Gov. Jack Markell, chaired the U.S. Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel that investigates and interviews candidates for vacant U.S. Magistrate Judge positions, and served as president of the Delaware State Bar Association.

In 2020, a panel of the Delaware District Court selected Williams to serve as a special master to the court, where he aids the court in resolving matters in a cost-effective and efficient manner, such as mitigating disputes, managing discovery and facilitating settlement negotiations, among other responsibilities. He is in the midst of a four-year term on that panel, focusing on complex civil cases in the district.

Williams received his law degree from Villanova University School of Law in 1995 and two bachelor’s degrees from Millersville University of Pennsylvania in 1990. At Fox Rothschild, he has built a practice focused on commercial, intellectual property and other business litigation. He advises and represents a wide range of corporate clients, including technology companies, manufacturers, financial institutions, energy companies, health care and pharmaceutical companies, retailers, government entities, colleges and universities and faith-based organizations.

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