- Courtroom Number: 3A
- Bailiff: Caitlyn Walker
- Department: 41
- Assignment: Civil and Criminal
Matthew W. Williams is a Superior Court Judge for the State of Washington.
Almost all his time off the bench is devoted to Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Initiatives in pre/post conflict nations and emerging democracies around the world. He has led initiatives in Central Asia, South America, Africa, the Middle East, and within the former Soviet Republics.
Judge Williams serves on the Advisory Boards of the Civil Jury Project at NYU School of Law, the Institute for the Global Understanding of the Rule of Law (IGUL), and Justice Advocacy Africa (JAA).
He was selected as 2021 Trial Judge of The Year by the Washington Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) for his work in building systems that allowed the use of remote technologies to maintain jury trials during pandemic. He continues to provide process development and training to judges throughout the United States on remote/virtual court operations. He is a member of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Post-Pandemic Planning Workgroup.
Judge Williams has taught Trial Advocacy at Seattle University School of Law (University of Puget Sound) since 1991. In 2020 he developed and conducted the first fully virtual Trial Advocacy program at Seattle University, which included both traditional in-person advocacy skills as well as the emerging skill sets associated with remote advocacy.
Judge Williams has served many terms as faculty team leader for the renowned Kessler-Eidson Trial Techniques Program at Emory School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia.
From 2000-2016 he served as a Director of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) Trial, Deposition, and Public Service Programs. In 2014 NITA awarded Judge Williams the Prentice Marshall Award for the Development of Innovative Teaching Methods. He continues to provide advocacy training for practicing attorneys through out the United States.
Judge Williams began his legal career with the Attorneys General of Nebraska, Iowa, and Washington State. He handled death penalty and criminal appeals matters as well as complex commercial and tax litigation.
He left State service to manage Federal drug, weapons, and aviation enforcement litigation.
He then served as the Supervising Attorney for the City of Seattle’s Major Civil Litigation unit.
He left public service in 1994 and became the Managing Attorney of a mid-sized law office where he served until 2003.
From 2003 to 2010, Judge Williams served as a general manager for a national insurance carrier where he managed multiple business units across the nation while implementing best practices and data driven decision making
Along the way, he served as a Special Disciplinary (Ethics) Counsel for the Washington State Bar Association, as a member of the Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct (ELC) Task Force, and as a Trustee of the Washington Defense Trial Lawyers.
In 2010 he was elected to the King County District Court. In 2016 he was elected to the King County Superior Court. There, he serves as General Jurisdiction trial judge in the full range of both civil and criminal matters.
Judge Williams received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Nebraska (1980), and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Nebraska School of Law (1983). He has logged thousands of hours as pilot-in-command. He holds the rank of Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and has served as a martial arts and personal defense instructor.