Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Atherton attorney inducted into state bar Hall of Fame  

by Renee Batti 
Almanac Staff


Mary Alexander of Atherton was inducted into the State Bar of California's Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame in a June 23 ceremony in San Francisco.

The honor is given each year to one trial lawyer who has excelled in his or her field and who exemplifies "the highest of values and professional attainment," according to the state bar's website.

Ms. Alexander's San Francisco firm, Mary Alexander and Associates, specializes in personal injury litigation statewide, but her leadership in professional associations has garnered her recognition far beyond California.

She is the current president of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, and is a past president of the Consumer Attorneys of California and the American Association for Justice -- formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

When she was president-elect of the latter organization, she played a key role in its successful effort to bring lawyers from all over the country together to provide pro bono legal services to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks.

These days, she is representing a woman who lost her father, brother and grandmother in the PG&E pipeline blast and fire that devastated a San Bruno neighborhood in 2010. The trial date for the case is set for July 23, she said.

"The case is really about the corporate culture of PG&E that led to a lack of (commitment to) safety," she said in an interview. "What we hope comes out of this case is greater safety for the public."

Ms. Alexander said she is "really honored and humbled to get the (Hall of Fame) award. I've devoted my career to helping ... people who ordinarily don't get a voice" in the legal system.

When Ms. Alexander was sworn in as president of the national association of trial lawyers in 2002, she summarized the core of her mission as a trial lawyer in her speech. The statement included this: "We fight for the underdog. We go to battle. Not like some deluded Don Quixote, but like the thinking warrior who trains harder and is more dedicated than his adversary. ... We will never stop fighting for average Americans. ...We are the army of justice."