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Morgan Williams (L ’07) named one of Gambit magazine’s 40 Under 40

November 02, 2011

williams, morgan


Gambit magazine's '40 Under 40' honoree, Morgan Williams (L '07) (Photo/GAMBIT)

Morgan Williams (L ’07), general counsel, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, and co-founder, Student Hurricane Network; Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans; and Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans, has been recognized by Gambit magazine as one of the most accomplished New Orleanians under 40 years of age. Every year (except 2005), Gambit solicits nominations from the public, then honors 40 people under age 40 for their accomplishments and the contributions they have made to New Orleans.

Gambit writer Marta Jewson contributed the following piece on Williams for the 14th annual “40 Under 40” feature article, which ran in this week’s publication (Nov. 1, 2011).

Not only did Hurricane Katrina flood the city of New Orleans, it also brought a tidal wave of legal issues that needed to be addressed.

At the time, Morgan Williams was a law student at Tulane and decided to help address those legal needs by founding an organization through which law students from all over the country could volunteer their time to help keep the legal system moving forward.

"In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, law students responded in an effort to provide assistance to the public law community in the region," Williams says.

He co-founded the Student Hurricane Network with Laila Hlass, now his wife, and more than 4,500 law students from across the country volunteered with public interest groups in the Gulf region.

Williams now is general counsel for Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, recently winning a housing discrimination case in St. Bernard Parish. He also successfully challenged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the state of Louisiana's method of awarding Road Home funds based on pre-Katrina property values instead of estimated damage to property.

"(Due to) historic undervaluing of African-American neighborhoods," Williams says many homeowners did not receive adequate Road Home money. Under the settlement, additional funds will be directed to people in hard-hit areas whose Road Home awards were tied to pre-storm-value assessments.

Williams also helped start Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans, a group seeking innovative solutions to social problems, and Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans, which guides young people poised to become tomorrow's community leaders and philanthropists. He also is an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University College of Law and co-teaches a course on housing law and policy. — Jewson

For more information regarding all 40 of this year’s honorees,   click here .


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