The Greensboro Bar Association established the Distinguished Service Award in 1993 to annually recognize a lawyer for exhibiting a deep devotion to the legal profession and an enduring contribution to the administration of justice and the public good through unselfish service. The recipient for 2018-19 is Joseph A. Williams.
Attorney Joseph “Joe” Williams of Joseph A. Williams, P.A. is a trial lawyer, practicing with his own firm in Greensboro. Joe graduated from North Carolina Agricultural &Technical State University (NCAT) in 1972 and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law in 1975.
He became an Assistant District Attorney for Guilford County in 1975 and District Court Judge of the 18th Judicial District in Greensboro from 1977-1980. Williams became partner of the Law Firm of Lee, Johnson & Williams in 1980 until 1983, when he started his own law firm. Joe is a former member of the Board of Trustees for NCAT, former member of the Board of Directors for the National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont (NCCJ) and former member of the Board of Directors for Greensboro National Bank.
Joe was the first African American to serve as President of the Greensboro Bar Association (2002-2003) and former Second Vice President of the NCCU School of Law Alumni Association. Joe is a Founding Member of the C.W. Lawrence Masonic Lodge and former President of the Greensboro Men’s Club.
Joe currently serves on the Board of Directors for First Citizens Bank and is Community Coordinator for the Greensboro Violent Offenders Task Force. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Greensboro Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Greensboro Young Men’s Club, and NC Guardsmen, Inc. His numerous academic publications include “A Crow-Jim, the Saga of Inverse Discriminations,” among others.
Joe has received various awards and accolades throughout his life including: the American Juris Prudence Award of Academic Excellence in Health Law; the Law Week Award for Scholastic Achievement in Senior Year; the Order of the Long Leaf Pine State of North Carolina awarded by Governor James B. Hunt, Jr.; the NC Association of Black Lawyers Community Service Award; the Greensboro Young Men’s Club Man of the Year; and most recently the Lifetime Community Service Award from the International Civil Rights Center & Museum.