Akron Municipal Court Judge Annalisa S. Williams Receives the Ohio State Bar Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Akron Municipal Court Judge Annalisa S. Williams received the Ritter Award during the Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF)’s All Rise Annual Awards Celebration, which took place on Friday, October 7, 2022 in Dublin, Ohio. The Ritter Award is the highest honor awarded by the Foundation and is given for a lifetime of service.

The Ritter Award recognizes the accomplishments of the Honoree in attaining and promoting the highest level of professionalism, integrity, and ethics in the practice of law while assisting other attorneys, the courts and the public to envision and cause changes that improve the justice system in Ohio.

Additional award recipients at the event were:

  • Inajo Davis Chappell, Solon, Ohio – The Ramey Award for Distinguished Community Service
  • Carl Smallwood, Columbus, Ohio – Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award
  • Building Bridges, Dayton, Ohio – Outstanding Program or Organization Award
  • Valissa Turner Howard, Cleveland, Ohio – Community Service Award for Attorneys 40 and under

“I am so honored to receive the prestigious Ritter Award,” said Judge Williams. “I have always been a person of great faith and a believer in the power of prayer. I have tried to live my life through Biblical principles instilled in me by my parents. These principles have guided me in my entire professional and personal life and this is why receiving this award is especially meaningful.”

First elected to the bench in 2003, Judge Williams is passionate about helping persons suffering from mental illness face their unique challenges within the criminal justice system. Her work presiding over the Mental Health Court has led to its designation as one of five original learning sites by the Bureau of Justice and Assistance and the Council of State Governments.

Judge Williams has also developed additional programs within the Akron Municipal Court, including 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.

Judge Williams is as committed to the community as she is to work on the bench. She serves on non-profit boards, judicial task forces, professional organizations and community and civic boards. She has been honored with numerous humanitarian and community service awards for her service to the legal profession. In addition, Judge Williams was selected as the Kent State University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient in 2020 and received the Centennial Akron Law Outstanding Alumni Distinction Award in 2022.

“Our honorees have made extraordinary contributions in changing lives, while furthering the Foundation’s mission of teaching the public about the rule of law and building a better justice system,” said Lori L. Keating, OSBF Executive Director. “They exemplify the best volunteer attorneys and organizations that Ohio has to offer, and we are proud to celebrate them for their achievements.”

Judge Williams graduated with honors from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She received her master’s degree from The University of Akron in Urban Studies and her law degree from The University of Akron School of Law.

A video was assembled and premiered at the All Rise Awards and features interviews from Akron Municipal Court Judge David Hamilton, Attorney Charles Greene, Attorney Hanne-Lore Gambrell and Akron Municipal Court Community Outreach and Grants Coordinator Nicole Hagy. View the video in full here.