Orlando, Florida, attorney Clay A. Deatherage is a partner at Bloodworth Law, PLLC, who specializes in complex business disputes and trust and estate litigation.
Clay has practiced law in Florida since 2003 and joined Bloodworth Law in February 2021.
In his practice at several large national and statewide firms, Clay has successfully resolved multimillion-dollar cases in the areas of business litigation, trust and estate disputes, environmental, securities, and antitrust law.
Clay describes his practice as “more like chess than checkers in that every case has its own tactics and strategies that you need to anticipate in order to stay on offense and avoid getting boxed into a bad position.”
“You always want to be on the highest ground available, with options for attacking.” Clay said.
“I have learned to not raise every possible argument imaginable. It can hide our strongest arguments and lead to a lack of credibility. Our job is to help the judge or jury understand and accept our version of a very contested story. That often requires acknowledging points we cannot win and showing why they are not controlling the case.
“We do not waste time or our reputation on personal attacks of other lawyers or parties. We tell the true and full story and make grounded arguments that are responsive to the relevant issues in the case.”
Clay became a lawyer because he enjoyed the study of law, and American history, and engaging in contested advocacy. His uncle was a lawyer in a small North Carolina town, and his family respected lawyers and their role in the community to maintain a sense of fairness and access to justice for anyone who had been wronged or mistreated. Moot court in law school (competitions where you had to argue for and against your designated side), brought all those elements together.
“Learning to argue both sides of a case and to understand where the other side is coming from is a huge asset in being a good advocate,” Clay said. “You strategically know how best to argue for your client as you anticipate and meet head-on the best version of the argument coming back at you.”
- Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee, Florida, Juris Doctor, Dean’s List, 2003
- East Carolina State University, Greenville, N.C., B.S., Social Work, Dean’s List, 1994
- Bloodworth Law, PLLC, Partner, Orlando, Florida, February 2021-Present
- South Milhausen, P.A., Partner, 2017-21
- Shutts & Bowen LLP, Partner, 2011-17
- Morgan & Morgan, Business Litigation Group, 2010-11
- Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Associate, 2008-10
- Senator Mel Martinez, General Counsel, 2005-08
- Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Associate, 2004-05
- Lowndes Drosdick, Associate, 2003-04
- The Florida Bar, Admitted 2003
- The Florida Bar, Business Law Section, Member 2005 — Present
- United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, Admitted, 2003 – Present
- Member of the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission for the Middle District of Florida, 2015-17
The first thing is to be as knowledgeable as I possibly can be about a client’s case. I need to understand where the client is coming from and to know the details of why things are where they are. Then, I have to be honest with the client giving them as much insight as I can into what they can anticipate.
Clients should know that we are going to maximize their position in their case and always be available, advising them throughout the litigation process.
Every case has a level of trauma and anger. It’s a business divorce involving a friend or partner. It’s a dispute regarding a deceased loved one. My job is to help a client understand how that problem can be resolved through the court system or pre-suit if possible.
Clay, a former college baseball pitcher and outfielder, now enjoys CrossFit, and competitive tennis matches with his daughters.