Attorney Willie E. Gary earned his reputation as “The Giant Killer” by taking down some of America’s most well-known corporate giants on behalf of his clients. He has won some of the largest jury awards and settlements in U.S. history, including more than 150 cases valued in excess of $1 million each. Gary’s amazing success has earned him national recognition as a leading trial attorney.
Gary has been 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.” He has been highlighted in many of the Nation’s most respected 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 have been documented on “60 Minutes,” the “CBS Evening News,” and ABC’s “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.” He also made a guest appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and made a live appearance on CBS’s “The Early Show” with Bryant Gumbel.
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 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. 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.
Gary was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1974 and opened his hometown’s first African American law firm with the help of his wife Gloria. Gary’s practice has since grown into the thriving national partnership known as Gary, Williams, Finney, Lewis, Watson & Sperando, P.L., consisting of attorneys, a team of paralegals and a professional staff of over 100. The firm operates out of four offices. Two of the four offices are located on the St. Lucie River in historic downtown Stuart, Florida; one of which is the former Pelican Hotel where Gary worked as a dishwasher during his teenage years. The third office overlooks the Indian River Lagoon in Fort Pierce, Florida and the newest office recently opened in downtown Orlando, Florida.
Known as a businessman, church man, humanitarian and philanthropist, Gary is deeply involved in charity and civic work. He is in great demand as a motivational speaker delivering speeches at law schools, universities, churches and various organizations throughout the country. In addition, Gary is committed to enhancing the lives of young people through education and drug prevention. In 1994, he and his wife, Gloria, formed The Gary Foundation to carry out this formidable task. The Gary Foundation provides scholarships and other resources to youth, so they can realize their dreams of achieving a higher education. In 1991, Gary donated $10.1 million to his alma mater Shaw University. He has also donated millions of dollars to other Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The Gary’s oldest son, Kenneth, is president & CEO of The Gary Foundation.Sekou is an attorney and serves as a partner in his father’s law practice. Ali is vice president of the Gary Foundation and the Gary’s youngest son, Kobie, oversees the family’s real estate business.