A hometown judge

January 31, 2022

Profile

By Kim Catley

Throughout his career, the Hon. Travis Williams, ’91 and L’94, has stayed focused on his hometown community of Chesterfield, Virginia. After finishing law school, he served as a judicial clerk for Chesterfield Circuit Court. Then, he spent two years in solo practice before becoming a partner at Daniels and Morgan — now Daniels Williams Tuck and Ritter — in Chester.

For the last 18 years, he also served as a substitute district court judge and enjoyed the opportunity to take a different perspective on the law. In fact, Williams had long set his sights on a permanent judgeship.

Last summer, he got that chance when he was appointed to the Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. He hears a variety of cases dealing with children and families, including custody and visitation agreements, abuse and neglect cases, and criminal cases involving children or family connections.

Williams is particularly suited for the position. He frequently argued cases in the juvenile court, both as a defense attorney and representing parents in custody cases. He was also a founding member of the Chesterfield/Colonial Heights Juvenile Drug Court.

“It’s something I was very passionate about,” he said. “There’s such a need for it in the criminal justice system. It was probably one of the highlights of my career, working with youth and their families to help them stop the sometimes multigenerational pattern of addiction.”

His appointment is a historic move for Chesterfield. Williams is the first Black man appointed full time to the court. With him at the court is the Hon. Vanessa Jones, C’97 and L’01, who joined the court in 2015 and now serves as chief judge. “It’s important to me for the public to see diversity behind the bench,” Williams said. “It makes them think the whole process is much more fair.”