September 27, 2018

Florida attorney Willie E. Gary to receive ABA 2019 Spirit of Excellence Award

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2018 — The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession will honor Florida attorney Willie E. Gary with its 2019 Spirit of Excellence Award for his commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. The award will be presented at a ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, at Caesars Palace during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Las Vegas.

The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. Awards are presented to lawyers who excel in their professional settings; who personify excellence on the national, state, or local level; and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.

Also, being honored with Gary during the ABA Spirit of Excellence Award Luncheon on Saturday, Jan. 26, from noon to 2 p.m. PT are Pamela Jones Harbour, senior vice president and legal officer at Herbalife Nutrition in Los Angeles; John Lim, managing partner of California-based LimNexus LLP; and Peter M. Reyes, Jr., judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals in St. Paul.

“Willie Gary is the epitome of a ‘lawyer’s lawyer’ and has earned the moniker of ‘Giant Killer’ by receiving judgments in excess of $30 billion dollars,” said Helen B. Kim chair of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. “Willie Gary has led a life outside the courtroom dedicated to charitable giving and mentorship through the creation of The Gary Foundation, whose mission is to enhance the lives of young people by stressing the importance of education and drug abstinence. Willie Gary exemplifies the highest qualities of a ‘Spirit of Excellence’ awardee, and the commission is proud to honor him.”

Gary parlayed a passionate work ethic learned from his humble beginnings in Southern migrant farming communities in Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas into a legal powerhouse career that earned him a Forbes listing as one of the “Top 50 attorneys in the U.S.”

Gary was admitted to the Florida bar in 1974 and opened his hometown’s first African-American law firm in Stuart, Fla. His firm, Gary, Williams, Parenti, Watson & Gary PLLC has been serving the needs of people and the community for over 35 years. He has tried cases in 45 states and is in great demand as a motivational speaker, delivering speeches at law schools, universities, churches and to various groups throughout the country.

He earned a B.A. degree from Shaw University and his J.D. from North Carolina Central University, and has received honorary doctorates from dozens of colleges and universities. In 1994, Gary and his wife, Gloria, founded The Gary Foundation, which provides scholarships to youth, so they can realize their dreams of achieving a higher education.

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