Williams chosen for George L. Bousliman Professionalism Award for work with kids
Judy Williams of Goodrich Reely in Billings has been chosen as the winner of the 2022 George L. Bousliman Professionalism Award.
Williams was nominated for the award by Juli Pierce of Billings, State Bar of Montana President in 2019-2020, who noted her work as a guardian ad litem and as children’s counsel in abuse and neglect cases.
“Judy is the epitome of a public servant who chose to go to law school to help others, especially the most vulnerable of our communities like our children,” Pierce said. “She has always focused her career on public service whether that be as a social worker, as an Assistant Attorney General in the child protection unit, as an attorney for Montana Legal Services or MSU-B Student Legal Services, or as an attorney guardian ad litem representing the best interests of abused and neglected children.”
Williams, who had a background in social work before she became a lawyer, says she feels all of us have a responsibility to do what we can to protect and advocate for kids. She said she is reminded of a quote from Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund: “No one can do everything but everyone can do something.”
“That’s how I’ve approached this,” Williams said. “It’s my responsibility to do the best I can in the situation.”
Pierce noted that Williams also serves as a role model for other lawyers and volunteers who serve children, always exhibiting the utmost professionalism.
“Judy is a mentor to all of us in the abuse and neglect world and I have relied on her expertise even more in the past three years as I opened my own solo practice,” Pierce said. “She fights tirelessly for her children, advocating for their best interests when they may not have another voice in the courtroom. She continues to put her children’s concerns first over her business concerns, making very little to travel all over the eastern part of Montana to help abused and neglected children who are in desperate need of an advocate in the courtroom. She contributes so much professional time in getting to know her children, their backgrounds, their cases, and their needs. I rely on her frequently in my own work and no matter how busy she may be, she always takes the time to encourage me and help me with anything I need.”
Williams noted that she worked for George Bousliman, who was executive director when she started the bar’s Pro Bono program, which makes winning the Bousliman Award even more special.
“For six years I worked for George,” she said. “He was a wonderful supporter and advocate for the pro bono program. I feel honored.”