Telia Mary U. Williams

Title: Assistant Professor of Law
Office Location: Swen Parson 198B
Office Phone: 815-753-1068
Education: B.A., Yale University
M.A., Brown University
J.D., Harvard Law School

Prior to joining the faculty at Northern Illinois University in 2022, Telia Mary U. Williams worked in the litigation departments of law firms including Cravath, Swaine, & Moore in New York City and WilmerHale in Washington, D.C as well as her own firm in Las Vegas, Nevada. In New York and D.C., she extensively practiced in the area of securities litigation, antitrust, intellectual property, and real estate litigation. She has participated in high-stakes cases involving Fortune 500 companies such as the internationally-reported UnitedHealth Group backdated stock options case in 2006. Aside from securities litigation, she has extensive practice in consumer rights, employment law, trusts and estates litigation, family law, appellate litigation and white-collar criminal defense. In 2012, she was appointed a judge pro tempore in Justice Court, Clark County, Nevada.

Professor Williams grew up in Brooklyn, New York and attended Yale University, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in English, with honors. She earned a master's degree (also with honors) from Brown University, and then attended Harvard Law School, where was was elected to Law Review and graduated in the top of her class. She served as judicial law clerk to the Honorable Jay S. Bybee, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She also taught as an Assistant Professor of English and Theater at the City University of New York and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.


  • Everything that Rises Must Converge: What Flannery O’Connor Can Teach Lawyers (in progress)
  • From Soul Food to Father Divine: Black Engagement with Food and the Law (chapter accepted for publication by University Press).
  • Sola Scriptura or the Magisterium: Two Contrasting Views of Constitutional Hermeneutics __ Journal of Law and Public Policy __ (forthcoming Spring 2023).
  • Flannery O’Connor and the Law, 53 Listening: Journal of Communication Ethics, Relligion, and Culture (Thomism, Law, and Grace in the Fiction of Flannery O'Connor) 152 (Fall 2019).
  • “Calling on the Spirit”: The Performativity of Black Women’s Faith in the Baptist Church Spiritual Traditions and its Radical Possibilities of Resistance, in African American Performance and Theater History: A Critical Reader (Harry J. Elam, Jr. and David Krasner eds., 2001).
  • When You Need to Call a Lawyer, Nevada Business, 2014.
  • Preparing to Avoid the Biggest Threat to Your Business: Litigation, Nevada Business, Nov. 2012, at 36.