Guest Speaker: Willie E. Gary, Esq.
Willie E. Gary is living the American Dream. Once a migrant worker,
now a multi-millionaire attorney, Gary earned his reputation by representing
little-known clients against major corporations. Along
the way he has handled some of the largest jury awards and settlements
in U.S. history, winning more than 150 cases valued in excess of $1
Gary's amazing success has earned him national recognition as a leading
trial attorney. In May 2002, he was featured in Ebony magazine as one
of the "100 Most Influential Black Americans." Forbes Magazine
has listed him as one of the "Top 50 attorneys in the U.S."
Gary has been featured in national media publications, such as The New
York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Ebony, Jet, People,
Black Enterprise, Fortune, The New Yorker and The National Law Journal.
His remarkable legal career and tireless work on behalf of his clients
has been well documented on "60 Minutes," "CBS Evening
News," and ABC's "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings."
He has also been profiled on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,"
made a guest appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," and made
a live appearance on CBS's "The Early Show" with Bryant Gumbel.
But Willie Gary's triumphant rise to the top is no overnight success
story. His vast appeal stems from his desire to be the best and a passionate
work ethic he learned through his humble beginnings. One of 11 children
of Turner and Mary Gary, Willie Gary was born July 12, 1947 in Eastman,
Georgia, and raised in migrant farming communities in Florida, Georgia
and the Carolinas.
His unwavering desire to earn a college education ultimately led him
to Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina where the all-state high
school football player would earn an athletic scholarship after being
told there was no room for him on the team. Gary went on to become the
co-captain of Shaw's football team during the 1969, 1970 and 1971 seasons.
Earning a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Gary went on
to North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina where
he earned a Juris Doctorate in 1974. He has received honorary doctorates
from dozens of colleges and universities.
Upon earning his law degree, Gary returned to Florida with his childhood
sweetheart, Gloria, - now his wife. Gary was admitted to the Florida
Bar and opened his hometown's first African-American law firm with the
help of Gloria, who assisted him at his new practice. Gary's practice
has since grown into the thriving national partnership known as Gary,
Williams, Finney, Lewis, Watson & Sperando, P.L., consisting of
37 attorneys, a team of paralegals, a professional staff of 120 including
six nurses, two full-time investigators, an administrator, a certified
public accountant, a public relations director, a general counsel, human
resources director, and a full administrative staff.
The firm operates out of posh waterfront offices located on the St.
Lucie River in historic downtown Stuart, Florida, one that oversees
the Indian River Lagoon in Fort Pierce, Florida and the other in the
financial district of Orlando, Florida. Gary is a member of the National
Bar Association, the American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers
Association, Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers Association, Martin and
St. Lucie County Bar Associations and the Million Dollar Verdict Club.
He has tried cases in 45 states and is in great demand as a motivational
speaker throughout the U.S. - delivering speeches at law schools, universities,
churches, chambers of commerce and to various groups throughout the
country. Gary often travels on his 32-passenger, custom designed Boeing
737, which carries a full flight crew and is appropriately named "Wings
of Justice II."
Gary's scope of interest extends far beyond the courtroom. He is chairman
of the Black Family Channel - the nation's only African-American owned
and operated 24-hour cable channel devoted to wholesome "family
values" programming aimed at urban viewers. Based in Atlanta, Georgia,
the network's vision is to provide intelligent, family-oriented programming
that embraces values in business, entertainment, sports, ministries
and government. Gary also hosts a weekly talk show on the Black Family
Channel featuring personal interviews with prominent guests.
Known as a businessman, churchman, humanitarian and philanthropist,
Gary is deeply involved in charity and civic work. He is committed to
enhancing the lives of young people through education. In 1994, he and
his wife, Gloria, formed The Gary Foundation to carry out this formidable
task. The Gary Foundation provides scholarships, direction and other
resources to youth, so they can realize their dreams of achieving a
In 1991, Gary donated $10.1 million to his alma mater Shaw University.
He has also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to dozens of Historically
Black Colleges and Universities throughout the U.S.
His national television campaign, "Education is Power," encourages
children to stay in school and be the best that they can be. In addition
to being a lawyer, a philanthropist, a media mogul and a motivational
speaker, Gary continues to serve on the board of trustees of numerous
universities and foundations.
His extensive community activities include membership in the NAACP,
Florida Guardsmen, Inc., Urban League, Civitan International, United
Way of Martin County, Martin Memorial Hospital Foundation Council, and
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