Wesley Williams’ list of career accomplishments is lengthy — and he just graduated from Newman University six years ago.
While there, Williams interned for the Social Security Administration, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, and the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
He graduated from KU in 2019 and subsequently took the Texas bar exam, which he passed. In August 2019, Williams moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a policy adviser for the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee.
When the pandemic began, Williams decided to move closer to loved ones, so he went to San Antonio and took a job as an insurance defense attorney for Allstate Insurance. A year and a half later, he moved to Austin and began his current position as assistant attorney general at the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.
Williams works in the environmental protection division, which enforces the state’s environmental laws, as well as defends the state in lawsuits such as those involving mineral rights or other natural resources.
“What I have enjoyed the most is knowing I am making an impact on the natural beauty of the state and also the world at large,” Williams said. “I am getting to combine my passion for government work with my passion for nature. It’s rewarding going to a state park or beach and looking around and knowing that I am on the frontline of protecting such amazing spaces.”
Some other highlights of Williams’ career thus far have been meeting Justice Clarence Thomas while a student in law school, participating in the first remote jury trial in San Antonio while at Allstate and helping track what states were doing in response to the pandemic, which helped governors across the nation understand how they could continue to lead in the early days of COVID-19.
An impactful student experience at Newman
Every step of Williams’ journey has been impacted by the foundation he laid at Newman — a university he initially chose to attend because Coach Billy Murphy recruited him to the bowling team, and he received the St. Newman Scholarship.
“I applied to Newman without ever visiting campus, and once I had a chance to come down, I fell in love with the school,” he said.
He added, “During my four years at Newman, I participated in 17 different productions, was a student assistant in the scene shop and was nominated for an Irene Ryan Award for my performance as Dodge in ‘Buried Child’ fall semester of my junior year. I was a finalist for the Ablah Award my senior year and was also accepted into Kappa Gamma Pi.”
The skills Wesley developed as a theater major come into play almost daily in his career as an attorney.
“Theater helped me build the practical skills needed to be a successful attorney such as public speaking, critical thinking, and the ability to tell a story,” Williams said. “It was a way to combine something that I love to do — performing — while preparing for my future as an attorney.”
Theater also allowed Williams to understand different perspectives.
“Just as different characters view issues in plays and musicals in different ways, so do different parties to a lawsuit,” he said. “By understanding this, I’m able to place myself into the shoes of an opposing party to better understand their side of a dispute.”
Williams also holds deep appreciation for some of his Newman professors, including Mark Mannette, Deanne Zogleman, Kelly McFall and former athletic director Vic Trilli.
“Newman truly helped prepare me for where I am today,” Williams said. “My time at Newman instilled in me a passion for public service and a sense that, even though I am only one person, I can help change the lives around me. During my time at Newman, I was also able to form bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime.”
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