County Board of Supervisors Appoints James R. Williams


SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – The County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors announced on October 18, 2016, the appointment of James R. Williams as County Counsel, effective immediately.  The Board’s vote was unanimous. Williams has been Acting County Counsel since August 1, 2016.

The job of County Counsel is one of the most important in our operation,” said Board President Dave Cortese. “I am confident that James Williams has the experience and the expertise to serve us well.”

As County Counsel, Williams oversees all aspects of the Office of the County Counsel and serves as the chief legal advisor to the Board of Supervisors, the County Executive, the Civil Grand Jury, County elected officials and department heads.  He oversees all litigation brought by the County and the defense of all litigation filed against the County.  The Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office has 158 employees, including 70 attorneys, and administrative and support staff.

Williams began his career with the County of Santa Clara in 2010 as a Social Justice & Impact Litigation Fellow in the Office of the County Counsel.  His accomplishments while serving as Fellow landed him a role as Deputy County Counsel where, among other duties, he advised the County’s Finance Agency and its Auditor-Controller, Treasurer, and Tax Collector functions.  He also helped lead the County’s successful litigation strategy on redevelopment dissolution. He delivered the oral argument before the California Supreme Court on behalf of the County as an Intervener in California Redevelopment Association v. Matosantos, where the County’s successful argument resulted in the dissolution of the state’s 400+ redevelopment agencies on February 1, 2012.

Williams was appointed Deputy County Executive in 2013 following his role as Special Assistant to the County Executive, where he focused on the dissolution of redevelopment agencies within Santa Clara County.  As Deputy County Executive, Williams provided oversight and executive leadership management of several County departments, including Procurement, County Fire, County Communications, and Risk Management. These departments’ recommended Fiscal Year 2017 budgets exceed $263 million.  He was also responsible for policy oversight for over $2 billion in contracting annually.  He supervised several functions in the County Executive’s Office, including the Office of Emergency Services, the Office of Countywide Contracting Management, Redevelopment Dissolution, and the Bail and Release Project.

I am honored that the Board of Supervisors has named me County Counsel,” Williams said. It is a privilege to lead an Office of talented and hardworking public servants, and our foremost goal is to be the trusted legal advisor to the Board and the County.

Williams, 32, graduated from Stanford Law School in June 2010.  In 2006, he graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, where he received the Pyne Prize, Princeton’s highest undergraduate distinction.  He is a Harry S. Truman Scholar and Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow.  In Spring 2012, Williams was named a “Lawyer on the Fast Track” by The Recorder, recognizing California attorneys in their first 10 years of practice “whose early accomplishments indicate they will be tomorrow’s top lawyers and leaders.”

Williams and his wife, Mary Anne, live in San Jose with their three young children: Jesse, Boman, and Susanna.