As a trust and estates lawyer with Quarles & Brady, Kathleen Gray’s career has enabled her to be a leader in the community in several areas, from leadership on the State Bar’s section on Real Property, Probate and Trusts, to leadership within in the firm, and leadership in nonprofit organizations in the community.
Beginning in 1992, she worked with other probate attorneys and professors to update Wisconsin’s probate statutes. The Committee engaged in a five-year comprehensive study of the Wisconsin Statutes and the Uniform Probate Code, and ultimately new legislation in Wisconsin was signed into law in 1998.
“It was a great assignment,” Gray says, “much different from practicing law. Everyone was motivated to do what is best for all, rather than what’s best for an individual client.”
During her tenure on the Board of the probate section, which she chaired from 2006 to 2007, Wisconsin also adopted the Uniform Trust Code.
Gray has also been a leader within Quarles & Brady. Gray has served as chair of both the Milwaukee office and the firm’s national Trust & Estates practice group. She’s also served as mentor to many of the firm’s junior lawyers, something she didn’t have when she joined the firm.
“When I arrived, there were no formal mentors. It was more like sink or swim, although in a small group like Trusts and Estates, attorneys have always looked out for each other’s best interests.” Gray has also been active in the firm’s diversity initiatives and recruitment.
In recent years, however, Gray says the firm has allowed her to reduce her work in firm administration to focus on nonprofit work. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of both the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and the Women and Girls Fund of the Waukesha County Community Foundation. The Foundation makes grants to a variety of social service agencies and other groups in Waukesha County.
Gray likens trust and estate work to being part of many different families, because of the long-term relationships with families that develop, and representing succeeding generations within the same family.