Published on July 31, 2023 by Morgan Black
Sara Williams, a 2006 graduate of Samford University Cumberland School of Law, has joined the law school faculty as the visiting director of advocacy for the 2023-24 academic year. Williams is uniquely qualified for this role as an alumna, former adjunct professor and trial team coach, as well as being a nationally recognized trial lawyer and litigation skills speaker, all of which prime her and the program for continued national success.
Williams said, “It is an immense honor to have the opportunity to serve as director of advocacy at Cumberland School of Law for the 2023-24 school year. The foundation I received at Cumberland has been pivotal in every step of my career. The work being done in Cumberland's advocacy program does more than just shape careers, it transforms lives, just as it was instrumental in transforming mine and I am grateful to have the opportunity to help lead this amazing program into the future.”
As a Cumberland School of Law student, she was an active member of the advocacy teams and other student organizations, including being the winner of the American Bar Association’s 2005 National Mediation Competition, the president of the Black Law Students Association and chief judge of the Trial Advocacy Board.
As an alumna, her involvement with Cumberland School of Law began not long after she graduated. In 2010, she began coaching mock trial teams and teaching Basic Skills in Trial Advocacy as an adjunct professor. Since then, she has been integral in developing and teaching courses such as Advanced Skills in Trial Advocacy Civil and Deposition Skills and Technology. She joined the Cumberland School of Law advisory board in 2015 and was named the Volunteer of the Year as part of the law school’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards.
She currently practices at Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys in Birmingham, Alabama, where she primarily works on trucking, wrongful death and catastrophic injury litigation. From 2017 through 2021, she served as the firm’s managing attorney. During that time the firm grew to include hundreds of attorneys and staff in offices in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Massachusetts. Prior to joining the Shunnarah firm, Williams spent the first seven years of her career as an insurance defense lawyer. Her continued involvement in ongoing cases will allow her to remain engaged in the legal community in ways that directly benefit the training she is able to provide to students.
Well recognized in the national legal community, Williams is a member of the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice (AAJ), was the 2022-23 president of the National Women Lawyers Association, and served as a co-chair for the AAJ’s Law Schools Committee for three consecutive years. She was also the 2022 recipient of the Marie Lambert Award from the AAJ’s Women Trial Lawyer’s Caucus. She is a frequent speaker at AAJ conferences and conferences hosted by the National Trial Lawyers and the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys. Williams also served as the keynote speaker for the 2023 Women in Trial Travel Summit. In Alabama, Williams has served as the secretary of the Alabama Lawyers Association and was the 2022-23 president of the Homewood City Schools Foundation Board.
Blake Hudson, dean of Cumberland School of Law, said, “Sara has been an instrumental part of the success of our advocacy program to date. We are excited she is joining us in this capacity, and we look forward to seeing the program continue to grow under her leadership.”
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.