Mary’s interest in families and the businesses they run and transfer can be traced back to her Irish great-grandparents. When they were young, they moved west seeking land and opportunity. The family subsequently owned a general store, a bank and a ranch. Despite enduring robberies and kidnappings, her grandparents managed to survive and keep their businesses running. Mary’s father also became an entrepreneur. He ran the hardware store that her uncle began and then sold it to Mary’s brother. This makes Mary a fourth generation entrepreneur who is familiar with what it takes to run a business and pass ownership and property from generation to generation.
- Awards & Distinctions
- Education & Certifications
- Lectures & Speaking Engagements
- Publications & Articles
Mary is a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). Its members are elected to the College by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence and experience as trust and estate counselors. Membership in ACTEC is by election of the regents of the College. Individual lawyers meeting the criteria for membership are nominated for membership by fellows of the College, and subjected to careful review by both state and national membership selection committees, prior to consideration by the regents of the College. Applications for membership by members of the bar are not accepted by the College.
Mary has an “AV”® Preeminent rating by MARTINDALE Hubbell, the highest peer review rating by other attorneys. She has been chosen as a Georgia Super Lawyer by Atlanta Magazine since 2006 in the area of Estate Planning and Probate. Additionally, in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012 through 2018 she was named as one of the top 50 Women Lawyers in the State of Georgia. She has lectured on estate planning and creating small businesses. She has taught continuing professional education classes to lawyers, CPAs and insurance professionals. Mary is the Chair of the over 900 member Fiduciary Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. She has presented at the annual Fiduciary Law Institute at St. Simons to the members of the section and chaired the Institute in 2017.
Mary formerly served as Vice-President of Fundraising for the National Conference of Women Bar Association’s and was the Chair of the Summit Committee held in Atlanta in 2004. She is active in the Atlanta Bar Association having served on the Board of Directors of the Estate Planning & Probate Section from 2005-2013. She served as the Chair in 2011-2012. She has served as Chair of the Elder Law Section and is a past Board member of the Sole Practitioner/Small Firm Section. She is a member of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers and has served as a Representative at Large and Atlanta Chapter President. Mary is active in various civic organizations including having served as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Gwinnett County. She was awarded the 2006 Woman of the Year Award of the Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors.
- Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
- University of San Diego, San Diego, California, J.D. 1993
- Oxford University, Oxford, England, Institute on International and Comparative Law, Summer 1992
- Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, B.S. 1980, cum laude
- Chosen as one of Georgia Trend’s 2012, 2015 and 2016 Legal Elite
- Chosen as one of the top 50 Women Lawyers in the State of Georgia 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 through 2018 by Atlanta Magazine
- Chosen by peers as a Georgia Super Lawyer in the area of Estate Planning by Atlanta Magazine every year since 2006
- State Bar of Georgia
Fiduciary Law Section
– Executive Committee, 2014-2019
– Chair, 2017-2018
– Vice Chair, 2016-2017
– Secretary, 2015-2016
- American Bar Association
Member – Real Property and Estate Planning Section
- Atlanta Bar Association
Chair – Elder Law Committee, 1999-2000
Member – Estate Planning and Probate Section
– Board of Directors, 2005-2013
– Chair, 2011-2012
Member – Sole Practitioner/Small Firm Section, 1997-Present
– Board of Directors, 1999-2000
- National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Vice President, 2004-2005
Board of Directors, 2002-2006
Chair – Women’s Bar Leadership Summit 2004 – “The Secrets of Our Success”
- Georgia Association for Women Lawyers
Representative-At-Large – State Executive Board, 2002-2005
President –Atlanta Chapter, 2001-2002
- Pro Bono Volunteer – Georgia Lawyers for the Arts
- The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Board of Advisors, 2008-2010
- Atlanta Estate Planning Council
- Christ the King Lutheran Church, Norcross
President—Congregational Council 2004
- Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, Gwinnett County
Board of Directors, 2001-2011
Public Relations Chair, 2002-2004
- Guest on Wealth Matters radio show discussing dealing with family issues and addiction in connection with estate planning; 2017.
- Chair; 52nd Annual Fiduciary Law Institute of the State Bar of Georgia; St. Simon’s Island; July 2017.
- “Managing an Estate Planning Practice” presented to the Institute for Continuing Legal Education Basic Fiduciary Practice; March 2016 and October 2016.
- “Engagement Letters for Lawyers” presented to the Institute for Continuing Legal Education Basic Fiduciary Practice; March 2015.
- “Interplay between Family Law and Estate Planning” presented to the Atlanta Bar Association, Family Law Section; September 2014.
- “Avoiding Estate Planning Regrets” presented to the 58th Annual Estate Planning Institute of the State Bar of Georgia, Athens; February 2013 and the Atlanta Bar Estate Planning and Probate Section; January 2014.
- “Probate Tips for Financial Planners from Lawyers and Judges” presented to Financial Planners Association of Georgia; June 2011.
- “Practice Tips for Attorneys in Probate Court” Moderated panel discussion of probate judges presented for the Fiduciary Law Institute of the State Bar of Georgia, St. Simon’s Island; July 2010.
- Guest Lecturer, Emory University; April 2010.
- “Probate Tips Panel” presented for the Atlanta Bar Association, Estate Planning and Probate Section; October 2008 and January 2010.
- “Probate: Perils, Props and Tips I Wish I’d Known” presented for the 53rd Annual Estate Planning Institute of the State Bar of Georgia, Athens; February 2008.
- “Secrets of my Success” Panel Discussion presented to Women in Insurance & Financial Services, Atlanta Chapter; November 2007.
- Guest Lecturer, John Marshall School of Law; October 2007.
- “Estate Planning Topics” presented to employees of the CDC; October 2007.
- “Estate Planning for the Executive” presented to Kettering Career Network; August 2006.
- “Marketing to Professionals” presented to Women in Insurance & Financial Services, Atlanta Chapter; February 2006.
- “Practical Ethics: Avoiding Client and Beneficiary Conflicts—Panel Discussion” presented for the Fiduciary Law Institute of the State Bar of Georgia, St. Simon’s Island; July 2004.
- “The Basics of Drafting Wills and Trusts in Georgia” presented for Lorman Education Services, Atlanta, Georgia; January 2003.
- “Choosing a Business Entity” presented to Georgia Women Entrepreneurs Conference, Columbus, Georgia; April 2002.
- “Investing and Giving in a Recession” presented to Financial Advisors Seminar, Gwinnett Community Foundation; October 2001.
- The Road to Independence, 101 Women’s Journeys to Starting Their Own Law Firms; Commission on Women in the Profession, American Bar Association; 2011.
- Establishing a Successful Solo Practice; Thomason Reuters/Aspatore; 2011.
- “Essential Estate Planning Documents” Women in Insurance & Financial Services National Quarterly Publication, Summer 2001.
- “Basic Estate Planning Needs” American Business Women’s Association Newsletter, March 1999.
- United States Supreme Court
- State Bar of Georgia
- State Bar of Texas