Mary Elizabeth Gately

Mary Elizabeth Gately


Mary Gately is a Chambers ranked litigator in DLA Piper's Washington, DC Litigation group.

She focuses her practice on products liability, cross-border litigation, class actions, reputation management and other complex litigation in the fields of the First Amendment and commercial litigation.

Representative products liability cases include representation of pharmaceutical and medical device companies in contraceptive medical device litigation, and in smoking cessation and hormone therapy drug litigation and representation of food and beverage companies in pet food and baby food related products liability litigation. Representative defamation cases include representation of plaintiff (CEO of business) defamed in online post and defense of a foreign bank in defamation case brought in US.

In 2023, Mary Gately was awarded the ABA John Minor Wisdom award for her pro bono efforts related to her work on an access to justice project in Washington DC, the DC Affordable Law Firm.

Bar admissionsDistrict of ColumbiaVirginia
CourtsSupreme Court of the United StatesAll Virginia federal and state courtsAll Washington, DC federal and state courtsUnited States District Court for the District of Maryland


  • Counsel to Bayer in products liability cases arising out of claims about a medical device
  • Currently representing Plaintiffs Fruits-Giddings S.A. de C.V. and affiliates in lawsuit pending in US District Court for the Middle District of Florida against a Florida-based fruit distributor seeking over $25 million in damages for fraud, breach of contract, and violations of the federal Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act following failure of a distribution relationship during the 2019–20 growing season
  • Counsel to Bank of Palestine in a defamation case filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia; obtained dismissal with prejudice in the District Court and argued and won aan appeal filed by the plaintiff, Fadi Elsalameen v. Bank of Palestine, P.L.C., No. 16-cv-1976 (ABJ), USCA DC Cir. 19-07117 US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (2020)
  • Counsel to a national church The United House of Prayer in the successful appeal of a breach-of-contract case in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, United House of Prayer for All People of the Church v. Restoration Doctor, Inc., Case No. 17-CV-1013 and retried case in DC Superior Court (decision pending) Civil No. 2015 CA 002450 B
  • Counsel to the prevailing party, a Canadian apparel company, in international arbitration involving $70 million breach-of-contract claims and in related enforcement proceedings
  • Counsel to The Children's Place in action brought by employees of a factory in Bangladesh for wrongful death and personal injury, Rahaman et al v. J.C. Penney Company, Inc. et al; motion to dismiss granted, Delaware Superior Court – New Castle, Case No. N15C-07-174
  • Counsel to The Children's Place in National Consumers League v. Wal-Mart Stores, et al for alleged violations of the DC Consumer Protection statute; after the majority of the case was dismissed at the motion-to-dismiss stage, the case was settled. DC Superior Court, Civil No. 2015 CA 007731 B
  • Counsel to an international businessman who pursued a defamation claim against an online news publication and was awarded defamation damages, punitive damages and legal fees in US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Jemal Ahmed v. Elias Kifle and Ethiopian Review, Inc., CA No. 1:12-cv-02697-SCJ; affirmed by United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, Appeal No. 16-17008-GG
  • Counsel to Pfizer, Inc. in a vaccine case; motion to dismiss was granted and affirmed by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Teresita A. Canuto v. GlaxoSmithKline, US Corporate Headquarters, et al., No. 18-5355
  • Counsel to an individual in litigation arising from a sanction by the US Treasury
  • Counsel to the board of directors of an African oil refinery in litigation arising from the efforts of creditors to attach assets in the US and other countries
  • Counsel for a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund in responding to a reputational attack by an NGO think tank
  • Representation of the League of Arab States in garnishment actions in federal court brought by wrongful-death plaintiffs
  • Counsel to a US apparel company in a breach-of-contract dispute
  • Counsel for plaintiffs in defamation cases brought in the UK and US against an internet publication
  • Managing the reputation of an international high-wealth businessman and related companies, including the removal of defamatory content from the internet and the pursuit of legal claims for defamation
  • Liaison counsel for defendants in multi-district product liability class action litigation arising out of the 2007 recall of pet food involving allegations of melamine-tainted wheat gluten from China. In re Pet Food Recall Litigation, MDL 1580 (D.N.J.)
  • Lead counsel for a pet food manufacturer in class actions alleging unfair and deceptive trade practice violations, including "Made in the USA" claims
  • Counsel to a manufacturer of meat products and pet food treats concerning consumer protection claims for product labeling and advertising
  • Representation of a pharmaceutical client in multi-district product liability class actions involving smoking cessation and hormone therapy drugs
  • Representation of female employees of the DC Department of Corrections in a sexual harassment class action lawsuit against the District of Columbia. After obtaining class certification, Mary participated in the seven-week jury trial, appeal and class relief phases. The case was settled recently for $8 million and other injunctive relief
  • J.D., Harvard Law School 1988
    cum laude
  • B.A., Boston College 1985
    summa cum laude


  • Nominated, Thomson Reuters Stand-Out Lawyers (2024)
  • Chambers USA
    • Band 3, District of Columbia Litigation: General Commercial (2022-2023) 
  • The Legal 500 United States
    • Recommended, General Commercial Disputes (2023)

Mary has repeatedly been ranked by Chambers USA, a highly respected legal directory. The 2021 guide states that Mary "is adept at handling multidistrict litigation," and clients shared that she "is incredibly hard-working, forward-thinking and communicative. She does an excellent job." Her clients additionally note, "She's really terrific, responsive and bright, she's an excellent lawyer."

In 2023, the Virginia Access to Justice Commission named Mary to its Pro Bono Service Honor Roll for the 2021 to 2022 bar year. Mary was also named a Thomson Reuters Stand-Out Lawyer with General Counsel stating, "Mary is very comprehensive with fact discovery strategy."

The 2019 edition of Chamber USA states that Mary is "…very tenacious in the courtroom" and that "she works hard to understand clients' needs and interests to get the best results." The directory said, "[s]he has expertise in cross-border litigation, class action lawsuits and reputation management. She has additional industry expertise in the food and beverage, healthcare and life sciences sectors, and is described as 'very organized and responsive.'" Mary is "experienced acting in domestic and cross-border litigation, with a noted strength in class action defense." Clients recognize her as an "'outstanding' lawyer who 'combines a deep understanding of legal principals with a common-sense approach to practice.'" They note that Mary’s “attention to detail enables her to quickly identify the critical aspects of an issue."

Testimonials from The Legal 500's research in the Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Action – Defense: Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices category of The Legal 500 United States 2021 guide state, "Mary Gately has done such fantastic work in analyzing complex medical topics from a legal perspective. She is an expert of 'translating' medial issues into the legal framework."

In 2010, Financial Times, in its US Innovative Lawyers honors, cited Mary on its "Commended" list in the Litigation category for her work crafting consensus in a bet-the-company case on behalf of a pet food manufacturer. Mary has been recognized since 2015 on the Washington, DC Super Lawyers® list.

Pro Bono

Mary is the pro bono director of the DC Affordable Law Firm, where she provides strategic guidance to its fellows and acts as co-counsel on certain cases. Mary represents prisoners in compassionate release cases and supervises DLA Piper associates who handle guardian ad litem and other family law cases. 

She teaches annually at a one-week NITA trial advocacy institute run by the EPA and is on the board of School Talk, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that advocates for the rights of students with disabilities.

Mary was the recipient of the national DLA Piper 2018–2019 North American Pro Bono Award.



  • Speaker, "Best practices for recruitment and development and retention of diverse attorneys," Federal Bar Association Leadership Summit, April 28, 2022
  • Panel participant, "The Path Forward: Open Discourse and Fighting Extremism in the Virtual World," IWF 2021 Virtual Cornerstone Conference: Change in the Face of Challenge, March 25, 2021
  • Panel participant, "Advancing Value-Based Contracting," Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Partnership Forum, June 20–⁠21, 2017
  • Presenter, "Expanding Drug Use Information Communication, Implications of FDAMA 114," University of Florida College of Pharmacy course, Course No. PHA6276, March 4, 2017
  • Presenter, "Expanding Drug Use Information Communication, Implications of FDAMA 114," University of Florida College of Pharmacy course, Course No. PHA6276, March 4, 2017
  • Co-Presenter, "History of Women in the Law," Federal Bar Association's Women in the Law Conference, July 11, 2014
  • Speaker, "Advancement Pledge - Presentation II: Attracting, retaining, and promoting gender diversity," Utah Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, February 2, 2018

Media Mentions


Mary teaches annually at a one-week NITA trial advocacy institute run by the EPA.

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
  • American Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
Civic and Charitable
  • Board member, SchoolTalk
  • Pro Bono Director, DC Affordable Law Firm