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Who is Judy Williams?

Judith A. Williams graduated from the University of Illinois in 1963 and began her business career as executive assistant to the Dean of Women at the university, while earning her graduate degree in Education. She began her teaching career as an elementary school teacher, teaching for seven years in three different states before retiring to raise her three children.

After her youngest daughter entered high school, Judy decided to re-enter the workplace. She bought a Sylvan Learning Center franchise in Memphis, Tennessee in March of 1984 and quickly built her franchise into one of the most successful centers in the country. The franchise grew into five locations until 2001, when she and her partner built a three-story facility to centralize the operation. The Sylvan system helps children and adults who struggle in school or who want to accelerate. It has equipped many children and their parents to positively change their lives and expand future opportunities. In 2005, after 21 successful years, the franchise was sold back to the Franchisor.

In 1992, Judy decided to seek a law degree to help others, particularly those who were unaware of their rights. In 1995, she received her J.D. from Whittier Law School in Los Angeles. In 1996, she was awarded New Attorney of the Year by the Orange County California Public Law Center for her extensive Pro Bono work with indigents and others who needed representation. She was awarded the Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Services by the California State Bar in 1998.

In 1996, she also acquired a fledgling company, The Center for Mediated Divorce. She already knew from her divorce work that mediation was a much better alternative than litigation. It saved couples anguish, broken relationships, devastated children, and considerable time and money.

Over the years she has been a leader in moving California in a direction toward non-litigated divorces. She has been involved in the Orange County Women Lawyers organization for many years, on the Board, and was President in 2003. For several years she worked with OC and LA County Lawyers and the California Bar in making Collaborative Law, a new option for out-of-court settlements, a permanent section of California Family law code. She was a founding member of the Orange County Collaborative Law Group. She recently began the Orange County Cooperative Law Group, as yet another option for divorcing couples to each have their own settlement-oriented lawyer while working out their agreement without going to court . She continues to research and develop new practices to preserve family values and relationships during and after divorce.

Judy has received many honors, including National Association of Women Business Owners prestigious Orange County Remarkable Woman Award and OC Metro Magazine’s Top OC Lawyer. She has three children, five grandchildren and a loving husband of over fifty years.

Specific Biographical Data


  • University of Illinois; Champaign-Urbana; B.A. 1963
  • University of Illinois; Champaign-Urbana; Master of Education 1966
  • Whittier Law School; Whittier College; JD 1996
  • Honors; Top 10% Moot Court


  • Divorce mediation Skills; Pepperdine University School of Law; Pepperdine University
  • Advanced Family Mediation Skills; Pepperdine University School of Law; Pepperdine University

Professional Activities

  • Board Member; Orange County Women Lawyers Association 2001-2008
  • Member; American Bar Association 1998-2014
  • President; Orange County Women Lawyers Association 2003-2004
  • Member; Orange County Barristers 1999-2005
  • Board of Directors; Orange County Barristers 1996-2000
  • Member; Family Law Section, Community Service Committee 1997-2000


  • Attorney of the Year; Public law Center 1997
  • Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Services; California State Bar 1998
  • National Association of Women Business Owners; Remarkable Woman Award 2009
  • Top Lawyer; Orange County Metro Magazine 2009-2013

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