Porter Wright's Clary honored as 'Woman Lawyer of the Year'
Mary Beth Clary, a partner in Porter Wright's Corporate Department in the firm's Naples office, has been named "Woman Lawyer of the Year" by the Collier County Women's Bar Association, Inc. This award is given annually to a female lawyer who has excelled in her career, overcome traditional stereotypes associated with women and promoted the status of women within the profession and/or promoted the status of women in the State of Florida.
Clary was presented with the award at the Association's June luncheon meeting, which also marked its 20th anniversary as a formally organized women’s bar association. As part of the presentation, Rachael Loukonen, the President of the Association, enumerated some of Clary’s career accomplishments. She was followed by Patrick White, a colleague of Clary’s who had nominated her for the award. During his remarks, White stated, “Mary Beth's professional aspirations and achievements have been an inspiration to her family, the firm, her colleagues and our community."
Clary has been a member of the Collier County Women’s Bar for 17 years, serving as President (2006-2007) and a Director (2005-2010). At the state-wide level, Clary has been a member of the Florida Bar Association and the Florida Association of Woman Lawyers from 1996 through the present. In 2011, she was a recipient of FAWL’s Leaders of the Law Award based upon achieving professional respect, making a significant impact in the local community through legal services or volunteer activities, exemplifying the qualities of a positive role model and advancing the cause of women in the community.
On a national level, Clary has been extremely active in the American Bar Association and currently serves as a Delegate to the ABA’s House of Delegates, which is the ABA’s policy-making body, and as an officer of the ABA’s Business Law Section. She also served as a Commissioner on the ABA’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession (2001-2004) and as an active member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Membership (1998-2001). In addition, since becoming a member in 1983, she has chaired or been an active member of numerous significant committees of the ABA’s Business Law Section, including its Committee on Diversity, Publications Board, Strategic Planning Committee, and ABA Relations Committee. Clary also served on the Section’s Council from 1999 to 2002 and from 2009 to the present. In 1999, Clary was honored with the Section’s Chair’s Award, which is given annually to the member making the largest contribution to the Section during the year. This award recognized Clary’s work as the primary drafter of the Section’s Diversity Plan, which was the first of its kind for the ABA and served as a model for many other ABA sections. In 2001, Clary received the Section’s Glass Cutter Award, an award presented annually to a woman lawyer who has “cut through the barriers to attain high accomplishments in business law.”
Clary was elected into the American Law Institute in 2003, the same year she became a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. She has been named to Florida Super Lawyers® in the area of business/ corporate law and to The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Corporate Law and Securities/Capital Markets Law. Best Lawyers named Clary a Corporate Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Fort Myers in 2013.
Clary started practicing law in 1983, first as an associate and then as a partner of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur. She was elected to the firm’s Directing Partners Committee in 1996 and served for 10 years. She has also served on the firm’s Partnership Admissions, Nominating and Compensation Committees.
In addition to her professional activities, Clary has served on Xavier University’s President’s Advisory Council since 2003 and was instrumental in forming Xavier’s Women of Excellence, chairing this group from 2007-2012. More recently, her civic activities have included serving as President of the local Faith and Wine, Inc., a group of Catholic women who meet monthly to network and learn more about their faith. She has also served as a mentor for the Pace Center for Girls’ Breakfast and Books program.
About the Collier County Women's Bar Association
The Collier County Women’s Bar Association was formally organized in 1993 for the “promotion, recognition and encouragement of the contributions of women within the legal profession and judiciary, improvement of the administration of justice and the elevation of judicial standards, promotion of the study of law particularly among women, dissemination of legal knowledge to all members of the community and improvement of relations between members of the Bar, judiciary and public.”