Mary Cushing Doherty brings her energy, humanity and sound, practical judgment to matrimonial law, all of which remain undiminished by over 30 years in the field. Indeed, in a demanding profession known for grinding down its share of practitioners, Doherty remains an exceptional example of high-spiritedness, generosity and skillful lawyering. Her instincts as a caring teacher are reflected throughout her successful career and her life, as she has long instructed young people, aspiring lawyers, even opposing counsel - suggesting practical solutions to problems small and large.
A Chicago native and one of eight children (her family continues to own and operate Cushing & Color Chicago, a printing company in its fourth generation), Doherty was an energetic young person who loved the theater and school - "I thought I was going to become a teacher." She went to the University of Delaware ("My first connection of any kind with the East Coast") where she met her husband, now of over 30 years. Law school fit with her ambitions and expectations (her father was an attorney, as well as three of her brothers), and matrimonial law became her focus early on. Barely out of law school, she was already teaching courses on equitable distribution with the encouragement of her mentor and first boss, renowned divorce attorney Albert Momjian. Other mentors were the Honorable Emanuel Bertin, Master Frederick Cohen and Madam Justice Sandra Schultz Newman. From 1979 to 1988 Doherty worked at Momjian's firm, Abrahams & Loewenstein, and it was in those early years that she crafted a career - and balanced it with building a family. "One of my biggest challenges was managing my time. One question I asked more experienced attorneys was, can I be successful at this without being in the office every day of the week?" Doherty answered the question herself, building a reputation as a diligent and thorough attorney and effective advocate for her clients.
Ever confident, she practiced on her own in Norristown for more than a decade, until she was approached in 1999 by High, Swartz, Roberts & Seidel seeking a high-profile matrimonial lawyer. "I got tired of running my own practice, and I was too social to enjoy having my own firm," she says. Today 25-attorney High Swartz LLP is home to Doherty (now on the firm's management committee) and her staff, including a secretary and paralegal who have worked with Doherty for over 25 years.
In great demand, she turns away her share of cases and commands an above-average hourly rate. Part of Doherty's success lies in her vast and remarkable record of public service, which included such activities as Pre-Cana counseling at her church, teaching a class on divorce issues at Upper Dublin High School, and instructing 8th graders on how to write a sympathy card. When her son studied piano, she took lessons too. To blow off steam she joined her daughter's dance school and continues to take tap lessons. ("Every lawyer should be humiliated once a week".)
Today, she has three grown children, all college graduates, one from Skidmore, one from Princeton (and graduate school at Notre Dame) and the third from Dartmouth. She lives in North Wales, PA.