Philadelphia-area attorney Mary Gaffney believes the conferring of honors on high-achieving women lawyers is good for their career prospects. However, she believes it is even better for individuals in need of legal assistance as it helps them make smarter choices about who should represent them in a court fight.
According to Gaffney, women attorneys earning the recognition of Super Lawyers, National Trial Lawyers and other prestigious law organizations are best equipped to assist clients who face the thorniest legal problems.
“Women lawyers who have been honored by Super Lawyers, for instance, have the knowledge, skills and determination to wage legal battles in ways few others can match,” says Gaffney, who practices law in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an associate attorney for New York City-based Weitz & Luxenberg at its Cherry Hill, N.J., office.
“Only a very small percentage of the women attorneys — and male attorneys, for that matter — in any given state are singled out for honors by Super Lawyers,” she says.
Gaffney a Six-Time Super Lawyers Honoree
Gaffney should know. Earlier this year, she was named a New Jersey Super Lawyer “Rising Star” for personal injury litigations involving plaintiffs harmed by dangerous products.
Super Lawyers accorded her that title for the sixth time in as many years. Moreover, in 2010 and again in 2012, Super Lawyers selected her as a “Rising Star” in Pennsylvania.
The National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys placed Gaffney on its “Top 10 under 40” list for the first time this year.
Meanwhile, the National Trial Lawyers identified Gaffney as one of its 2015 “Top 40 under 40” attorneys, just as it had done every year since 2011.
And that same organization in both 2014 and 2015 chose Gaffney as a “Top 100” trial lawyer. The “Top 100” is a state-by-state ranking of the nation’s elite civil plaintiff and criminal defense trial lawyers, the National Trial Lawyers indicates.
To be considered for this designation, an attorney must be nominated by peers who have first-hand knowledge of the candidate’s “leadership, reputation, influence, stature and public profile,” the organization explains.
Much the same process is followed in identifying candidates for the “Top 40 Under 40” rankings. The difference is that all of the candidates for that even shorter list are star lawyers younger than 40.
Super Lawyers, too, employs the same kind of calculus in determining who qualifies as a best-of-the-best attorney in each state.
Gaffney Advocates for Mesothelioma Patients
Gaffney first began appearing on these organizations’ radar at about the same time she joined Weitz & Luxenberg in 2010.
As part of the prominent firm, Gaffney has focused on representing clients afflicted with mesothelioma, a hyper-aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
Her work with those clients revolves mainly around enforcing their legal rights against the companies responsible for exposing them to asbestos, a hazardous mineral once widely used in consumer and industrial products.
“Asbestos causes more than mesothelioma — it also causes lung cancer and asbestosis,” says Gaffney, who also works on those cases.
Gaffney entered the practice of law in 2002. Even before joining Weitz & Luxenberg in 2010, she had served as a courtroom advocate for clients in more than 300 bench and jury trials. She also has played key roles in negotiating very substantial settlements.
In addition to practicing law in the two Mid-Atlantic states, Gaffney is admitted to represent clients in U.S. District Court in the New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania districts.
She is a member of a half-dozen bar associations and professional organizations. Gaffney studied law at Temple University School of Law.