A Toledo man’s journey from dropout to law school graduate

The life story of Joshua Williams is full of challenges, but he graduated from law school this year
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 5:51 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Joshua Williams is an incredible example of the power of persistence, hope, and determination. He went from a homeless high school dropout to a lawyer, with degrees from the University of Toledo, but there were a lot of challenges and obstacles along the way.

After dropping out of high school, he went to work to support his young son. He was hurt on the job and disabled for eight years because of a serious back injury. Joshua says he decided to change his mindset and instead of saying “why me” about all the things that had happened to him, he decided to say “why not me” about following his dreams.

After getting his GED, Joshua started college at the age of 30. By the time he was 35, he had his law degree. The motivation to go to law school came about after he was arrested in his sophomore year in college. Joshua pleaded not guilty to the charges and worked to prove his innocence. The charges were eventually dropped by the State of Ohio.

Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Myron Duhart presided over his case. The judge also ended up being one of Joshua’s law school professors.

“I saw him one day in the hall, and he came up to me and told me that he had been a defendant in my courtroom a few years earlier," recalls Judge Duhart. "He also said that he wanted to take my class when he could. Fast forward a couple of years, and he did take my class. He was also top of that class. None of this is a coincidence, I believe that in life things happen for a reason and that there is a great deal of providence in how it all progresses. This story is a great example of that.”

Joshua is forever grateful to the judge and all the people who have been in his corner through the years.

“It’s hard to think about all I have been through," says Williams. “It brings a tear to my eye when I do, because I realize how close I came to losing everything. I am so lucky to have had the support and guidance of people like Judge Duhart. I look at my life as a pond that you throw a pebble in, and it ripples. All those ripples will have an impact on me and my family for generations to come.”

Because of the pandemic, Williams has not been able to take the bar exam yet. He is practicing law at Groth and Associates with his mentor under a provisional license. He is scheduled to take the bar exam in February.

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