A nationally recognized authority on welfare law and low-wage labor, Professor Williams focuses on the dependency created in low-wage labor relationships, and how the political rhetoric connecting "dependency" with receipt of welfare has diverted attention from the structural issues within low-wage labor markets. She has a long and impressive record as both an academic and a litigator in the areas of unemployment insurance, Social Security and related welfare programs.

In recent years, Professor Williams has expanded her work to address issues of global poverty and the justiciability of social and economic rights. She currently convenes the International Social and Economic Rights Project (iSERP), a group of international academics, judges and activists working to encourage and develop critical and transformative thinking about SER and SER-based legal strategies. She is also a co-director of the law school's Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy.

Prior to joining the Northeastern faculty, Professor Williams was an attorney with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute for 13 years. She teaches in the area of social welfare law, civil procedure and federal courts and is involved in the law school’s Legal Skills in Social Context program. In 1994-1995, she was honored by the school as the Public Interest Distinguished Professor.

Fields of Expertise

  • Benefits Law
  • Civil Liability
  • Civil Procedure
  • Civil Rights
  • Development and the Law
  • Federal Jurisdiction
  • Litigation
  • Poverty Law
  • Public Interest Advocacy

Selected Works

Books

  • Social and Economic Rights in Theory and Practice: Critical Inquiries, Co-edited with Professor Helena Alviar García of Universidad de Los Andes and Professor Karl Klare of Northeastern University School of Law (Routledge Press, forthcoming 2014)
  • International Poverty: An Emerging Discourse, ed. Zed Books, 2006
  • Decades of Distortion: The Right’s 30-year Assault on Welfare, Political Research Associates, 1997

Selected Chapters

  • “Resource Questions in Social and Economic Rights Enforcement: A Preliminary View,” in Social and Economic Rights in Theory and Practice: Critical Inquiries (Alviar García, Klare and Williams, eds.) (Routledge Press, 2014)
  • “Rethinking Social Protection Beyond Waged Work: A United States Perspective,” in Women’s Rights to Social Security and Social Protection (Goldblatt and Lamarche, eds.) (Hart Press, 2014).
  • “Poor Women’s Work Experiences: Gaps in the ‘Work-Family’ Discussion,” in Labour Law, Work and Family: Critical and Comparative Perspectives (Conaghan and Rittich, eds.) (Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • “Beyond Labour Law’s Parochialism: A Re-Envisioning of the Discourse of Redistribution,” Labor Law in an Era of Globalization: Transformative Practices and Possibilities. Conaghan, ed. Oxford University Press, 2002
  • “Unemployment Insurance and Low Wage Work,” Hard Labor: Women and Work in the Post-Welfare Era. Handler and White, eds. 1999
  • "Welfare Law and Legal Entitlements: The Social Roots of Poverty," Politics of Law (third edition, D. Kairys, ed., 1998).