Darrell A. Clay

Darrell A. Clay

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney in Cleveland, OH

Walter | Haverfield LLP
 | The Tower at Erieview, Suite 3500, 1301 East 9th Street
Cleveland, OH 44114
Phone: 216-928-2896
Fax: 216-916-2335
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2010 - 2021
Licensed Since: 1997
Practice Areas:
  • Business Litigation (40%),
  • Criminal Defense: White Collar (40%),
  • Aviation and Aerospace (20%)
    Attorney Profile

    Darrell is a seasoned advocate and counselor who views dispute resolution as an exercise in complex problem-solving where success depends on knowledge of applicable law and procedure, creative thinking, and emotional intelligence. With substantial experience before federal courts, state courts, and administrative tribunals around the county, he regularly handles civil and white collar criminal disputes for a client base that includes individuals, business entities of all types and sizes, and governmental bodies. He is as comfortable advising in the boardroom as he is in standing before a judge or jury. In 2017-2018, Darrell served as President of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, the largest metropolitan bar association in the State of Ohio. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness, an arm of the Supreme Court of Ohio responsible for ensuring that persons seeking admission to the practice of law in Ohio have the requisite character, fitness, and moral qualifications.

    Darrell’s civil practice is multi-faceted. He advises, counsels, and represents clients in antitrust and unfair competition matters. He regularly performs antitrust reviews of business agreements and advises clients on strategies to avoid exposure to allegations of anti-competitive activity. He represents employers and employees in litigation over restrictive employment covenants and confidentiality agreements, including obtaining and opposing injunctive relief. He has significant experience in the law of trade secrets, including trying several such cases to jury verdict in state and federal court. He also counsels employers on structuring restrictive covenants to avoid having them judicially narrowed or invalidated. Darrell often represents law firms and attorneys, accountants and other service professionals in professional liability claims and other types of complex litigation. He has served as lead counsel in cases pursuing construction design and workmanship liability claims. He advises and litigates on behalf of individuals and business in disputes involving shareholder withdrawal or expulsion.

    Drawing on his experience as an instrument-rated commercial pilot, Darrell is involved in a wide variety of aviation-related legal matters. He has defended commercial manufacturers and home builders of airplanes and helicopters in product liability and personal injury claims. He helps aircraft owners in addressing the complexities of buying and selling aircrafts. As a panel attorney for the Legal Services Plan of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Darrell has advised, counseled, and defended dozens of pilots, mechanics, and other certificate holders in FAA and NTSB enforcement proceedings and other aviation-related legal concerns.

    In the criminal arena, Darrell has handled dozens of high-profile matters, including trying the first case ever brought to trial under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996. He has represented and negotiated plea and immunity agreements for numerous clients, and is intimately familiar with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and the forfeiture laws of Ohio. He has successfully defeated various asset-forfeiture claims and advised clients on criminal restitution orders. He has also represented non-target witnesses in testimony before a grand jury and in responding to subpoenas for documents and electronic files.

    For more than 15 years, Darrell has had deep involvement in attorney professionalism matters. For example, before joining the Character and Fitness Board in 2015, he appeared in a half-dozen cases on behalf of the CMBA. Since 2006, he has been a part of the attorney discipline process, having  investigated dozens of grievances on behalf of the CMBA’s Certified Grievance Committee. As an officer of the Grievance Committee from 2011 to 2014, Darrell was responsible for screening hundreds of grievances and making the initial determination whether a formal investigation should be conducted. Darrell has argued two attorney discipline cases before the Ohio Supreme Court, Cleveland Bar Association vs. Kodish, 2006-Ohio-4090 (increased recommended sanction to an indefinite suspension), and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association vs. Moody, 2018-Ohio-4071 (imposing indefinite suspension on attorney who disparaged opposing counsel, was uncooperative in discovery, and told client to lie when deposed).

    Darrell is a 2017 graduate of Leadership Cleveland and a 2013 alumnus of Cleveland Bridge Builders. Prior to joining Walter | Haverfield, Darrell practiced in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he served as a fellow in the nationally-recognized Institute of Politics. He also served as a judicial clerk to Judge Steven R. Plotkin of the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In his spare time, Darrell volunteers for Angel Flight, donating his time and airplane to fly persons in need of medical attention to destinations throughout the Midwest.

    About Darrell Clay

    Admitted: 1997, Ohio

    Professional Webpage: https://www.walterhav.com/professional/darrell-a-clay/

    Special Licenses/Certifications:

    • Commercial pilot with instrument rating, 2016
    • Darrell is licensed to practice in all courts in Ohio and Louisiana; U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Third, Fifth, and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeal; U.S. District Court, Eastern, Middle & Western Districts of Louisiana; U.S. District and Bankruptcy Courts, Eastern District of Michigan; U.S. District and Bankruptcy Courts, Northern & Southern Districts of Ohio; and the U.S. Tax Court.

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • President-Elect, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, 2016
    • Vice President of Membership, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, 2013
    • Member, Supreme Court of Ohio, Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness, 2015
    • Vice President, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, 2015
    • President, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, 2017

    Industry Groups

    • Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association
    • Aviation Insurance Association
    • Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association
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    Office Location for Darrell A. Clay

    The Tower at Erieview, Suite 3500
    1301 East 9th Street
    Cleveland, OH 44114

    Darrell A. Clay:

    Last Updated: 8/20/2020

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