William Clayton

William R. Clayton maintains a national civil trial practice, having tried more than 100 cases in state and federal courts, and has won more than $150 million in jury verdicts. After winning a $70 million verdict in a Florida jury trial, a prominent judge described his trial skills at trial as “wow man” and “brilliant.”

William is listed in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He and CTL are “Best Lawyers, Best Law Firm” (No. 1 in Region) according to the U.S. News & World Report. He was named in a Business Edition, Super Lawyers among “Top Attorneys in Business Litigation” in the U.S. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” in Florida” (top 5% of Florida lawyers) for over ten (10) years. For 2021, William was chosen again in 2021 as “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend magazine (top 1.4%).

Nationally, he is Board Certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocates (“Board Certified — Proven, Tested Excellence”). He is also Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer (1% of Florida lawyers) and Board Certified as a Business Litigation Attorney (.2% of Florida lawyers), having passed rigorous standards. Of over 100,000 lawyers in Florida, William is among only a small percentage of lawyers (.02%) who are board-certified in both specialties. In Nevada, he is also Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer.

William has also been recognized by Corporate Counsel for his superior client service in the BTI Client Service All-Stars 2015 report — just one of about 250 lawyers in the U.S. He was listed in the 2015 edition of The Legal 500 United States Guide to Outstanding Lawyers. William was selected as “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Fort Lauderdale chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).

By invitation only, he was chosen as a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), which is considered by many judges as the “best of the best” trial lawyers in the U.S. (at the time of his admission, applicants were required to try at least 20 jury trial trials — to verdict). William was selected — by invitation only — as a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, which is limited to less than .5% of American lawyers. He is a member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an organization whose membership is limited to trial attorneys who have achieved jury verdicts of $1 million or more. William has been rated AV Preeminent® by the peer review rating publication, Martindale-Hubbell®.

Outside of Florida and in past years, William was included among top litigation attorneys in New York City as “Legal Elite” Avenue Magazine, “Top Lawyers” in Class Action Litigation in Vegas Inc., and “Top Lawyers in Southern Nevada by Desert Companion magazine. He is licensed to practice law in Florida, Nevada, New York, and Washington DC.



  • J.D., Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • B.S., with distinction, Northwestern University


  • Hon. Harlington Wood, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit


  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Washington DC
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada
  • U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Representative Matters

  • Won a $42 million jury verdict (“every dollar and every cent” requested) in federal court for hurricane damages for the developer of the tallest condominium building — from the Florida Keys to New Orleans — against a large insurance company.
  • Won a $70 million jury verdict for a rapid result medical laboratory — 24-hour turnaround — that diagnosed blood samples. Following the win, also obtained an award of attorney’s fees and costs in excess of $1 million, where the state court trial judge described his legal services at trial as “wow-man” and “brilliant”
  • For a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and former concert promoter, won a $5 million jury trial in West Palm Beach in a breach of contract, civil conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference case
  • For a Top 10 professional athlete, obtained an injunction against one of the largest sports organizations in the world that instituted a lifetime ban against an athlete for alleged anti-doping violations
  • Successfully prosecuted a $60 million real estate case for a Las Vegas hotel and casino located near the Strip
  • For a NASDAQ traded company in a multimillion-dollar federal jury trial involving the sale of computer software, won a jury verdict where the jury asked the Court if they could award us more money than requested — plus attorneys’ fees, costs and interest
  • Won a sexual harassment case in the San Francisco Bay Area for a major sports figure — where a defendant was one of the largest worldwide sports organization
  • Won a multi-million dollar federal jury trial verdict about a $14 million yacht
  • Shortly after filing suit, won a real estate litigation case and set aside an under-market real estate contract resulting in a gain for the client of approximately $10 million, for one of the oldest U.S. families (Mayflower)
  • For an All-Pro professional football player, won a judgment within three (3) months of filing suit against a seller forcing the sale of multi-million dollar real property
  • Successfully represented one of the largest condominium developers in the U.S. sued by condominium association claiming damages of about $10 million (involving 25 parties) — the case was settled with the client paying “zero” and the developer recovered approximately $1 million from the general contractor.
  • Successfully defended one of the world’s largest hotel affiliates against a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by a condominium association — the plaintiff was paid zero and was required to pay the client $20,000 to settle the case
  • Within 20 minutes of the jury retiring to deliberate, won a jury verdict for an insurance company for a coverage and breach of contract case in Miami federal court
  • Successfully defended a national energy company based in California, against a lender of a multimillion-dollar credit facility, where we asserted a usury defense and the case settled with the client paying “zero”
  • In a product liability case involving a fabric manufacturing machine, where the plaintiff’s demand was approximately $2 million for the loss of use of his right arm after an accident, obtained a summary judgment for the manufacturer on the strict liability, warning label and manufacturing defect counts of the complaint
  • Won a multimillion-dollar engineering malpractice case in a three (3) week jury trial for the design of a dam in a major river — retained by Lloyd’s of London
  • In a million-dollar trial, won a jury verdict including treble damages and the jury asked the Court if they could award extra damages not even sought at trial — for punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and interest
  • Successfully defended a European client who was sued in Las Vegas in a $20 million case
  • For a major university in a nationally publicized jury trial, won the trial about the construction and design of its natural and artificial turf football fields
  • Defended one of the largest real estate developers in Las Vegas in a jury trial.
  • Defended one of the largest overnight delivery companies in the world and obtained judgments for attorneys’ fees and costs against plaintiffs alleging sick building syndrome
  • Successfully defended a $300 million intellectual property case in New York federal district court, where the plaintiff’s claims, against one of the largest auto rental companies in the nation, asserted trademark and Lanham Act violations
  • Successfully prosecuted numerous federal court actions protecting the intellectual property rights of one of the most famous Las Vegas casinos and hotels against the unlicensed use of federally registered trademarks
  • Defended one of the largest computer software and hardware companies in the world in a product liability case filed in federal district court and obtained a dismissal with prejudice of the case, without having to pay the plaintiffs
  • Defended serious charges and complaints filed by the Florida Board of Professional Engineers against an engineer and one of the largest swimming pool contractors in Florida before an Administrative Law Judge, defeating the Board on the merits and recovering attorneys fees’ against the board
  • After a request by Leadership Florida, successfully defeated a lawsuit by an Independent gubernatorial candidate seeking to become a third participant in the first televised debate for Governor of Florida scheduled between Republican candidate Charlie Crist and Democratic candidate, Jim Davis, based upon First Amendment grounds
  • Successfully defended a major nationwide trucking company from claims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination
  • Successfully represented a $300 million scaffolding services company in a lawsuit against a competitor causing a breach of employment agreements by former key employees
  • Obtained arbitration award for a major university about its soccer fields
  • Successfully prosecuted claims in federal district court, on behalf of one of the largest U.S. banks, against a commercial borrower and defended against a lender liability counterclaim, where the amount in controversy was in excess of $10 million
  • Successfully represented one of the largest overnight companies in the world in a dispute with a general contractor over the construction of a major distribution center
  • Represented one of the largest computer companies in the world in a dispute with a general contractor over the construction of an energy source for information systems

Awards & Accolades

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Construction; Litigation – Intellectual Property; Litigation – Real Estate, 2010-2020
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Florida Super Lawyers, 2009-2019
  • “Top Attorney” in Florida, 2020, American Registry
  • Listed, South Florida Legal Guide, “Top Lawyer,” Litigation, 2012-2016, 2020
  • Named, Client Service All-Star, BTI Client Service All-Stars Report, 2015
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Litigation – Commercial Litigation, 2015
  • Member, The Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Rated, AV® Preeminent 5.0 out of 5.0
  • Listed, Florida Trend magazine, “Legal Elite,” Employment Law, 2011
  • Selected, Super Lawyers and Corporate Counsel magazine, “Top Attorneys in Business Litigation,” 2011
  • Listed,  Avenue magazine (New York Edition), “Legal Elite,” Employment Law, October 2010, October 2011
  • Selected, South Florida Daily Business Review, Complex Business Litigation Finalist, “Most Effective Lawyers,” 2008
  • Listed, VEGAS INC, “Top Lawyers,” Class Action Litigation, 2013
  • Listed, Desert Companion magazine, “Top Lawyers in Southern Nevada,” 2012 and 2013

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education
  • Board Certified Business Litigation Lawyer, The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education
  • Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate, National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • Board Certified Civil Pretrial Practice Lawyer, National Board of Civil Pretrial Practice Advocacy
  • Board Certified, Civil Trial Advocacy Specialist, Nevada
  • President, American Board of Trial Advocates, Florida Chapters, 2017
  • President, American Board of Trial Advocates, Fort Lauderdale Chapter, 2013
  • Member, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Fort Lauderdale Chapter National
    • Board Representative, American Board of Trial Advocates, Fort Lauderdale Chapter, 2015-present
    • Co-Chair of Programs, American Board of Trial Advocates, Fort Lauderdale Chapter, 2012-2013
    • Member, Faculty Member, Masters in Trial programs
  • Fellow, 2010, Litigation Counsel of America
    • Senior Fellow, 2017
  • Member, Broward County Bar Association
    • Board Member, Board of Directors
    • Professionalism Panel, 17th Judicial Circuit, Broward County, Florida
    • Member, Bench-Bar Committee
  • Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel
    • Former Dean of College, Litigation Management College, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
    • Faculty Member, Litigation Management College, Emory University, 2013
    • Former Chair, Construction, Fidelity, Surety & Public Contract Section
    • Former Vice-Chair, Projects & Objectives Committee
  • Member, Leadership Florida, Class XXV
  • Member, Leadership Broward Foundation, Inc.
  • Member, Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Broward Foundation, Senior Executive Orientation
  • Faculty Member, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center
  • Member, American Inns of Court
  • Member, American Judicature Society
  • Member, The Florida Bar
    • Business Law Section
    • Trial Lawyers Section
  • Faculty Member, GT Litigation Skills Academy, Mediation/Negotiation Training, July 2010
  • Member, Northwestern University Leadership Circle, 2008-2009