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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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James Williams, 2007

JD, Stanford University

James Williams is the child of immigrants from India

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a JD in Law at Stanford University

JAMES R. WILLIAMS works at the Santa Clara County as Deputy County Executive. Previously, he worked as a Special Assistant to the County Executive and as Deputy County Counsel.   

James was born in Syracuse, NY, and grew up primarily in Portland, OR, the son of a Zoroastrian Persian mother and a Christian Indian father.

He completed his JD at Stanford University. A Truman Scholar, he worked on environmental law and policy in India, supported by a Labouisse Fellowship. He graduated in 2006 from Princeton University, where he earned an AB summa cum laude in public and international affairs, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and won the Pyne Prize, one of Princeton University's highest undergraduate distinctions. In college, James was an active member of student government and many campus organizations, including the largest, the Student Volunteers Council, of which he was chairman.

James has worked in Portland's City Hall and with Campaign for a National Majority, a national PAC. He argued before the California Supreme Court on behalf of the County of Santa Clara in the California Redevelopment Ass'n et al. v. Matosantos et al. case. This significant case, which was televised and considered by the Court on an expedited basis, involved the constitutionality of major legislation affecting the state's redevelopment agencies. The Court issued its decision in late December -- and the County's position prevailed. As a result, all 400 redevelopment agencies in California were dissolved on February 1st and the money they divert, 12 cents of every property tax dollar, will be returned to schools and counties to fund basic public services. (See an LA Times article on the decision here:

James lives with his wife, two sons and daughter in California.

  • JD Law | Stanford University 2010
  • BA Public & International Affairs | Princeton University 2006
  • Truman Scholarship
Work History
  • County of Santa Clara, Deputy County Executive
  • County of Santa Clara, Special Assistant to the County Executive
  • County of Santa Clara, Deputy County Counsel