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Mary Ruth Houston is Co-Managing Partner of the Orlando office and Co-Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Law Practice Group. She is also certified as a Circuit Mediator by the Florida Supreme Court.

Mary Ruth’s practice focuses on business and employment-related disputes. Her problem-solving approach helps clients stay focused on their core business. With over 30 years of experience in handling complex disputes, Mary Ruth uses her understanding of business issues outside of the courtroom to counsel companies on how to avoid litigation, minimize its effects or, when litigation is required, handle it efficiently and effectively. Mary Ruth advises companies throughout Central Florida and beyond on legal challenges that may permanently affect their businesses. Corporations of all sizes turn to Mary Ruth for her experience in pretrial, trial (jury and non-jury) and appellate work.

Mary Ruth defends employers and management in a broad range of labor and employment issues. These involve employee discharge and discrimination cases, including age, sex, race, national origin, religion and disability claims, as well as cases involving restrictive covenants and wage-hour matters (individual and collective). She also has extensive experience in negotiating and drafting complex employment and severance agreements. Mary Ruth teaches labor and employment law in the Master of Human Resources Program at Rollins College, and speaks frequently at seminars on employment related matters and conducts training on employment issues for businesses.

Mary Ruth’s litigation practice also encompasses a wide variety of commercial, contract, intellectual property, and business tort disputes.

Prior to joining Shutts, Mary Ruth was a litigation associate at a national law firm in New York City, where she worked on a wide variety of litigation matters. She is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. Mary Ruth is also an avid mountain climber and hiker, and has summited two of the Seven Summits, as well as Cotopaxi, Ecuador, the highest active volcano in the world.


  • Harvard Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1986
  • Georgetown University, A.B., magna cum laude, 1983

Bar Admissions

  • Florida
  • New York
  • District of Columbia

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York


  • Florida Super Lawyers, Employment & Labor, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Best Lawyers in America®, Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, Litigation – Labor and Employment, 2016—2019