Judge Annalisa S. Williams graduated with honors from Kent State University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She received a Master’s Degree from The University of Akron in Urban Studies in 1980 and her Juris Doctorate Degree from The University of Akron School of Law in 1984.
Judge Williams is a former Assistant Director of Law, serving both the Criminal and Civil Divisions; a former Domestic Relations Referee, a Corporate and Governmental Manager; a nationally trained Mediator and a former Commissioner and Chair of the Summit County Human Resources Commission. Judge Williams worked in the private practice of law from 1992 until 2003. As an attorney, she practiced in the areas of criminal, juvenile, domestic relations, bankruptcy, and probate law.
Judge Williams was elected to the Akron Municipal Court on November 4, 2003 and was reelected in 2005, 2011, and 2017. Judge Williams was selected by her colleagues to serve as the Presiding/Administrative Judge in 2008, 2012, and 2017. Since 2005, Judge Williams has presided over the Mental Health Court and has received community and national recognition for her involvement. Judge Williams is passionate about persons suffering from mental illness and their unique circumstances within the criminal justice system. As a result of her pursuit of this passion, the Akron Municipal Mental Health Court was designated one of five original learning sites by the Bureau of Justice and Assistance and the Council of State Governments. This designation allows other Courts to learn how to operate a Mental Health Court from Akron Municipal Court. Judge Williams co-presided over OVI Court from 2009-2012 and again from 2017-2018. Judge Williams also presides over the Forensic Assertive Community Treatment Program (FACT). Judge Williams has also developed many programs within the Akron Municipal Court, such as the Reading Advancement Program and the Peace of Mind Program which earned the Ohio State Bar Association’s 2018 Innovative Court Programs and Practices Award.
In 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court appointed Judge Williams as a member of the Commission on Specialized Dockets. In 2017, she was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court to be a member of the Judicial College.
Judge Williams is committed to the community and her profession. She has served on numerous judicial task forces, professional organizations, and community and civic boards. Judge Williams has also received numerous humanitarian and community service awards for her service to the legal profession.
Judge Williams has been active with the Akron Bar Association, serving as a past elected trustee, past chair of the criminal law committee and a member of the Municipal Courts Committee. While serving as the Criminal Law Chair, Judge Williams created the Clothes for Clients program to assist with providing court appropriate clothing for criminal defendants. Judge Williams is a lifetime member of the NAACP, a lifetime member of Girl Scouts of America, a lifetime certified Bridges out of Poverty Trainer, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
In 2020, Judge Williams was selected as the Kent State University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient for the year. The Distinguished Alumni Award honors exceptional alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their chosen profession and demonstrated extraordinary service to their community.
Judge Williams, an Akron resident, is married to Michael D. Williams and they have two adult children.