Cathy S. Wright

Applying skills honed in two decades of complex litigation and mediation, Cathy has the ability to quickly analyze qualitative and quantitative data to arrive at focused, innovative solutions to organizational challenges. With a keen eye for what is possible, she has steered clients successfully through daunting problems and toward positive organizational, cultural and reputational outcomes. Whether a client is considering a substantial change in direction or under siege from internal and external forces—using organizational development, leadership and team development, change management and communication strategies– she works with the client to chart a course to align their resources and build partnerships to achieve measurable results.

Her background offers a value added dimension to many projects. Drawing on experience as a leading civil litigator, Cathy has a strong awareness of the legal issues of a project, the ability to coordinate with counsel, as well as the knowledge to translate issues from “legalese” into clear language. A LEED AP, she recognizes the importance of the “green” movement, and is skilled in conceptualizing how green opportunities can enhance the client’s bottom line and reputation by improving efficiency, aiding in employee engagement and retention, public relations, strategic partnerships and freedom from regulatory issues. Cathy serves as a lead instructor at Duke University’s Environmental Leadership (DEL) Program in the areas of Scoping, Public Involvement, and Environmental Justice as it relates to the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

Through her work with exceptional leaders, Cathy has found that improving an organization’s knowledge of itself—as well as its employees’ self-comprehension—leads to substantial, beneficial change. Through this understanding, using personality models including the Enneagram, Cathy adds another layer of value to the leadership development, team building and change management services of Clarus.

Previous Experience

After serving as a clerk for the esteemed U.S. District Judge Frank M. Johnson, Cathy practiced law for more than 20 years, including 13 as a co-founder and partner of one of Birmingham’s leading law firms. A highly successful business litigator, she was also appointed as a mediator in state and federal courts. Before co-founding Clarus in 2004, Cathy had a private consultancy specializing in organizational development, communications, training, strategic and business planning, and facilitation. She authored A Report on the Status of Women in Leadership in Alabama. Published by the Alabama Women’s Initiative in 2002, the report now is used nationally and internationally as a model for women’s leadership studies. She also authored a column series for The Complete Lawyer on law firm leadership and practice management.

Education & Teaching

University of Alabama
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science (Phi Beta Kappa)

University of Alabama School of Law
Juris Doctor (Order of the Coif)
Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence, 1997
Adjunct Professor in Products Liability and Insurance, 1984-85

Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, 2001-2002
Adjunct Professor of Law in Alternative Dispute Resolution

Duke University, Nicholas School for the Environment, 2009-present
Instructor, The National Environmental Policy Act—Scoping, Public Involvement and Environmental Justice

Professional Affiliations

U.S. Green Building Council (LEED AP accreditation)
American Bar Association, Life Fellow
Alabama Bar Association, Life Fellow; Member Board of Bar Commissioners
Birmingham Bar Association
Attorneys’ Insurance Mutual of Alabama, Co-founder and Vice-President, Board of Directors
Association of Enneagram Teachers in the Narrative Tradition (National President, 2010)
Enneagram in Business Network

Leadership Activities & Awards

Lawyer of the Year (Birmingham Legal Secretaries Association, 1988)
Leadership Birmingham (1989)
Indigent Defense Committee Award
Top 10 Birmingham Women (2000)
Birmingham’s Influential Women (2002)
Leadership Alabama (2004)
Birmingham Bar Association Burton L. Barnes Award for Public Service (2008)

Community Involvement

Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity, Board Member
Birmingham Bar Association, Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee
Alabama Women’s Initiative, Founder and President, 1998-present
Leadership Birmingham, Board of Directors, 1995-present
Interfaith Environmental Initiative of Alabama, Steering Committee