After graduating from law school at the University of Florida, Martha Barnett became the first female attorney hired by Holland & Knight where she has practiced law for 40 years. Barnett was elected president of the American Bar Association in 2000, only the second woman to head the ABA in its history. Barnett also served alongside first lady Hillary Clinton on the inaugural ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, which has produced leading research on women in the legal profession.
Considered a groundbreaker for her work championing minorities, Barnett was a member of the legal team that negotiated a legislative settlement for survivors of the 1923 Rosewood massacre.
Barnett has been appointed to several constitutional commissions including the Constitution Revision Commission by Gov. Lawton Chiles and the Taxation & Budget Reform Commission by Gov. Bob Martinez and Gov. Charlie Crist. In 2004, Florida Trend named Barnett one of the “Most Influential Floridians.”
In 2006, she was named by the National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” and is consistently named to America’s best lawyer’s list. Barnett’s honors also include two recognitions from the University of Florida. She was named an “Alumna of Outstanding Achievement” in 1997 and a “Distinguished Alumnus” in 2006.