WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst today forwarded to the President recommendations of four highly qualified Iowa lawyers to fill a federal district court vacancy in the Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids.

The Iowans recommended are Lisa A. Stephenson, a corporate legal officer in Cedar Rapids; Ian K. Thornhill, a state district court judge in the 6th Judicial District of Iowa; C.J. Williams, a U.S. magistrate judge in the Northern District of Iowa; and Lisa C. Williams, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Iowa.

“These individuals have the outstanding qualifications required to be considered for a lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary, and I’m pleased to put forward their names for the President’s consideration,” Grassley said.

“I am proud to recommend these outstanding Iowans to the President for consideration for the federal judiciary. They have exceptional qualifications and represent the best of Iowa’s legal community,” Ernst said.

In the coming months, the President is expected to nominate an Iowan to fill the Iowa vacancy resulting from U.S. District Court Judge Linda R. Reade taking senior status this fall. The nominee will be confirmed with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate and serve a lifetime appointment.

Ernst and Grassley said today’s recommendations are the result of a process they established, which invited all Iowa lawyers to submit their names for consideration for a recommendation and where all applicants were interviewed and considered by an independent review panel convened by the senators.

Biographies of those recommended by Grassley and Ernst can be found below.

Lisa A. Stephenson is General Counsel of CRST International, Inc., primarily focused on transportation and logistics, employment and agency law, corporate transactional work, real estate matters, regulatory law, and mergers and acquisitions. Previously, she was an attorney for Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman, PLC. She also served as a law clerk in the Southern and Northern Districts of Iowa. Stephenson received her J.D. with Distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law and is a graduate of Mount Mercy College.

Ian K. Thornhill is a state district court judge in the 6th Judicial District of Iowa, hearing all aspects of felony criminal, complex civil, family law, probate and administrative appeal cases. Previously, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa and was responsible for criminal prosecutions of federal felonies. He also served in the U.S. Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps in various capacities, including in Iraq as deputy assistant director of the Law and Order Task Force, since 1999. Thornhill received his J.D. with High Distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law and his M.B.A. from the University of Iowa College of Business and is a graduate of the University of Iowa.

C.J. Williams is a U.S. magistrate judge in the Northern District of Iowa, presiding over all pretrial matters in criminal and civil cases, along with presiding over the trials by agreement of the parties. Previously, he was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, serving as the Senior Litigation Counsel. He also was a trial attorney for Lathrop & Gage L.C. in Kansas City, Missouri, and for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Williams received his J.D. from the University of Iowa’s College of Law with High Distinction and his L.L.M. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s School of Law and is a graduate of the University of Iowa.

Lisa C. Williams is an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Iowa, currently serving as the Violent Crime Coordinator primarily focused on prosecutions related to violent crime and firearm offenses. Previously, she served as a special assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa. She also served in the U.S. Army Reserves for ten years, including from 2005-2009 as a captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Williams received her J.D. with Distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law and is a graduate of Smith College.