As co-president of legal powerhouse Greenberg Traurig, Hilarie Bass is one of the most powerful women lawyers in the country. As a litigator, Bass led the effort to overturn Florida’s ban on gay adoption and has been a key player in suing Chinese manufacturers of defective drywall. She has won numerous awards and appears on state and national lists of super lawyers and top litigators, and is a past chair of the American Bar Association’s litigation section. Clients have included Microsoft, Hilton Hotels and Goldman Sachs.
Long before she was named to her current post, Bass became a familiar face in Miami’s civic circles, supporting community efforts from the Orange Bowl Committee to her alma mater of University of Miami, where she graduated summa cum laude from the law school. She has stomped grapes to promote a United Way fundraiser (she’s a previous United Way chair) and recently committed $1 million to UM, where she is vice chairman of the board of trustees. That’s quite a return for the university, where Bass was a scholarship student who turned to soda bottle deposits to pay for supplies.
Bass’s entire career has been spent at Greenberg Traurig, in large part thanks to the mentorship of one of its name partners, the late Mel Greenberg. Much of her time now is spent coaching young lawyers.
Despite her dedication to the legal profession, the Miami native never imagined going to law school. The daughter of a folk singer/actor, Bass studied at New York’s Actor’s Studio and was headed to the stage — until the soap opera she appeared on was canned.
Another significant case is my work on the Chinese-manufactured drywall litigation, one of the largest construction defect cases in U.S. history. The rulings in this multistate litigation set precedent for holding a Chinese manufacturer of defective drywall subject to U.S. court jurisdiction. It is gratifying to know that I helped thousands of families and major homebuilders to collect tens of millions of dollars that will ensure everyone will live in a safe home.