About Joe (he/him/his)
Primary Practice Area
Joseph R. Williams practices primarily in the field of assisted reproductive technology law, including egg/sperm/embryo donation and gestational surrogacy. Joe works with clients who are looking to start or expand their families through assisted reproduction, and assists clients in protecting their parental rights for their children born through assisted reproduction. Joe also represents surrogates and intended parents in agency surrogacy matches and independent surrogacy matches, including drafting surrogacy agreements and filing parentage proceedings during the surrogate pregnancy.
Joe also practices in the fields of matrimonial, family, and adoption law, representing individuals in the negotiation and litigation of separation, divorce, child custody, support and domestic violence matters, as well as all areas of adoption law, including private adoptions, voluntary agency adoptions, foster care adoptions and step/second parent adoptions. He has extensive experience representing clients in the Supreme, Surrogates and Family Courts throughout the Capital District.
In addition to representing clients at the trial level, Joe also has extensive experience representing clients in a wide array of family law appeals, and has argued dozens of cases before the Third and Fourth Appellate Departments. For more information on Joe’s appellate practice, please see Family Law Appeals.
Prior to joining Copps DiPaola Silverman, PLLC, Joe’s private practice focused exclusively upon the representation of individuals in divorce and family law matters. Joe worked at another boutique family law firm in the Capital District, devoting his time to the representation of clients in a wide array of complex matrimonial and family law matters, with a special emphasis on contested custody and domestic violence cases, as well as matrimonial and family law appeals.
Prior to private practice, Joe worked at a not-for-profit civil legal services agency providing representation to the poor and working poor of the Capital District. While working with this organization, Joe focused exclusively upon the representation of individuals in divorce and family law matters involving complex issues of domestic and/or intimate partner violence.
Joe is a two-time recipient of the Albany Law School Equality & Justice Scholarship for his work in advocating for equal rights and justice, particularly for members of the LGBT community, and Joe has successfully represented many LGBT clients in matters ranging from same-sex divorces, to name and gender-marker changes for transgender children and adults, to custody matters involving conflicts among parents regarding their transgender children. Joe was appointed to serve as a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on LGBT People and the Law, LGBT Family Law Institute and the Capital District Women’s Bar Association’s LGBT Committee, and proudly collaborate with the Pride Center of the Capital Region to provide free legal clinics on issue impacting the LGBTQ community.
In 2020, Joe worked on an amicus brief that was filed with the United States Supreme Court arguing that religious organizations should not be able to discriminate against potential foster parents on the basis of their sexual orientation. Joe has also provided educational trainings for the community on topics such as “LGBT Domestic Violence,” “The Ins and Outs of Child Support,” “Options in Adoption and Assisted Reproduction,” and domestic violence sensitivity trainings. Joe was appointed to serve on the assigned appellate panel for the New York State Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, representing individuals in a wide variety of family law appeals, the Attorney for Children panel in Rensselaer County, and the appellate panel of Attorneys for Children for the Appellate Division, Third Department.
In 2021, Joe launched New York Surrogacy Center with partner, Kathleen (“Casey”) DiPaola, Esq., New York’s first licensed surrogacy matching agency. Through his work with NYSC, Joe helps match gestational surrogates with intended parents, and guides them through their surrogacy journeys from beginning to end.
Joe is also admitted in Pennsylvania, where he practices exclusively in surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology law. Joe resides in Troy, New York with his partner, Ben, and their five rescue dogs.