Forty Under 40

Melissa Williams

Written By: Scott Costello

Name: Melissa Williams

Birthdate: May 22, 1987

Where were you born? St. Petersburg, FL

What are your community activities? (church or faith-based involvement, local, regional and national professional organizations, non-profits, etc)
Member of Westside Baptist Church in West Gainesville. At Westside, our Sunday School Class completes multiple community service projects each year such as neighborhood clean-ups in East Gainesville, outreach in the Paramount Hotel area, and volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County.
Past volunteer at Three Rivers Legal which provides legal services to indigent families.
Provide pro bono legal services to the Woodland Park Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County, H.E.L.P. Bingo (Charity bingo for kidney dialysis patients) in East Gainesville, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake/Sumter Counties.
Member of Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association in Gainesville
Serve as a mentor to several law students at UF and young lawyers in the community.
Member of the Florida Bar
Member of the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar
Serve on the Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee for the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar
Member of Sumter Bar Association
Member of Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division
Member of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar

List any awards you have won for community service:
Community Service Chair of Phi Alpha Delta
UF Law School Community Service Chair for ILSP
Woodland Park Boys & Girls Club “Women Who Make a Difference”
2011 Woodland Park Boys & Girls Club “Volunteer of the Year”
What is your definition of success?
Achieving happiness and greatness in your spiritual life, family life, and work life
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
After only practicing law for one year, I was selected to be a Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
How do you exemplify the spirit of a Forty Under 40 professional?
As a successful young female lawyer and law professor, I strive to inspire greatness in those who have the least among us through my charitable work, volunteerism, and mentoring.
Businessperson who has most inspired you:
My husband, Freddy Williams (2011 Forty Under 40 award winner ), the most ambitious and driven person I know.
Best advise ever received:
God will never give you more than you can handle.
Greatest professional challenge:
Breaking into the legal world as a young woman lawyer and making a name for myself
First job:
Receptionist at a car dealership (Dew Cadillac and Hummer)

What color crayon would you be? Why?
Blue, because IT’S GREAT TO BE A FLORIDA GATOR (also my favorite color)!

Favorite after-work drink:
Sweet Tea

If I had a magic wand, I’d:
Eliminate all injustice and prejudice in the world

What is your favorite Gadget?
My ipad

How long have you been in Gainesville?
7 years

What do you love most about Gainesville/Alachua County?
Culture, UF, quality of life, natural beauty, so many talented/innovative individuals in one community, and the restaurants

Three things people would be surprised to know about you:
First Person in my family to receive a Bachelors Degree
I learned to drive when I was 11 on my grandparents’ farm
I like to paint in my spare time

Advice you would give a younger you:
All of the challenges you face in the journey of life will make you a stronger person
Take your time and do not try to grow up too fast
Enjoy the ride

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