Page 44 - BusinessWest December 7, 2020
P. 44

Courting History
Danielle Williams Takes Her Place on the Bench
DBy George O’Brien
anielle Williams was asked about the style, or approach, that she would bring to the bench as a District Court judge.
She paused for a minute to think, and then recalled a conversation she had with a col- league recently — one that revealed just how she intends to address each matter that reaches her.
“Each case that comes before you represents people, it represents families, and it represents communities,” she said. “Cases are not just papers, they’re not just documents ... and you have to address each case with that in mind.”
She told BusinessWest that this human fac- tor, the people represented in the words typed on those pages, was driven home during her years spent as an assistant clerk magistrate in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Trial Court,
a position with a wide job description (more on that later), and one that opened her eyes to not only court procedure, but also the many issues facing those living and working in this region — and her own skill sets and abilities.
Williams said she didn’t take the clerk magis- trate’s job with the goal, or intention, of becom- ing the first African-American woman to be sworn in as a District Court judge in Western Mass., but she was eventually convinced by many of those she was working with that this was the logical next step — and that she was ready.
Williams brings what might be called an eclectic résumé to her latest position, one that includes experience in the Hampden County District Attorney’s office ... and experience writing and pro- ducing comic books.
Indeed, as she told Business- West when she was named one of its 40 Under Forty honorees in 2015, Williams, while practicing law with the Northampton-based firm Fierst, Kane, and Bloomberg LLP, specializing in, among other things, intellectual-property law, she was also writing stories about unlikely superheroes known as the Mighty Magical Majestics.
While Williams still has some-
what of a passion for science fic-
tion and graphic novels, she has spent the past several years focused entirely on the law and, more specifically, the courts.
After a short stint working in the Office of the Attorney General in Springfield, she joined the Trial Court as an assistant clerk magistrate in the spring of 2016, a role she’d been drawn to since very early in her career.
“I really admired how they [magistrates] really
Danielle Williams, seen outside the courthouse in Northampton, says her time as an assistant clerk magistrate has helped prepare her for service on the bench.
controlled the courtroom and set the tone for giving people access and making sure they felt comfortable in the courtroom,” she noted. “They dealt with all the components of the courtroom, whether it was probation, members of the pub-
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