Clarence Davis focuses his practice on complex business/commercial litigation and trials (defense and plaintiff), products liability, toxic tort and environmental cases, and class-actions, as well as white collar criminal defense (state and federal).
Clarence is rated AV Preeminent for the highest level of professional excellence by Martindale Hubbell. He has been recognized since 2011 by Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Commercial Litigation and Personal Injury Litigation. He has been selected by Super Lawyers as Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney in Columbia, SC, in 2009, 2012-2013 and 2017.
Clarence has experience serving as lead counsel in complex business trials and other complex litigation for national companies throughout the Southeast and elsewhere in the United States. Clarence has been admitted pro hac vice in state and federal courts in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
He has extensive experience in private practice with large, multi-state and international law firms. He has been a partner with Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, and a shareholder with Greenberg Traurig.
From 1989 to 1991, he served as assistant U.S. Attorney, where he was responsible for the jury trial of securities, tax and federal procurement fraud cases, as well as environmental crime work for South Carolina. There, he was trained by the U.S. Department of Justice to work with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He has administrative, civil, criminal litigation and jury trial experience with complex business crimes.
Clarence has served as a delegate for South Carolina on a southeastern trade mission to Japan and Korea. He has also been awarded the highest public service award issued in the state of South Carolina, the Order of the Palmetto.
In the 1980s, he was a captain in the U.S. Air Force. In that role he was one of the 20 Circuit Trial Counsel stationed throughout the world and was responsible for the jury trial prosecution of serious felonies at air bases in eight western states.
- Government and International Studies, University of South Carolina, Bachelor of Arts, 1979
- University of South Carolina School of Law, Juris Doctor, 1982
- South Carolina
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
Associations and memberships
- General council, South Carolina Bar, Trial & Appellate Advocacy Section, 2015-2018
- Board member, Benedict College, Columbia, SC, Board of Trustees, 2014-present
- Former board member, Central Carolina Community Foundation, Board of Directors
- Former board member, University of South Carolina Alumni Association, Board of Governors
- Board member, Woodward Academy, Atlanta GA, Board of Governors (Finance and Executive Committee)
- Former chair, U.S. Magistrate Judge Selection Panel, South Carolina
- Member, American Bar Association
- Former board member and second vice chair, Santee Cooper Public Utility, Board of Directors ($2.4 billion in gross revenue)
- Former chair, South Carolina Governor’s Commission on Race Relations, Economic Development Subcommittee
- Former chair, South Carolina Jobs Economic Development Authority
- Former member, South Carolina Bar, Judicial Qualifications Committee
- Former member, South Carolina Coordinating Council, Economic Development and Enterprise Zone Committee
- Former member, University of South Carolina School of Law, Office of the Dean, search committee
- Member, American Board of Trial Advocates (invitation only)
- Member, Defense Research Institute (DRI)
- Former State Liaison, DRI Drug and Medical Device Litigation Committee
- Member, National Bar Association (NBA)
- Former member, NBA Commercial Law Section, Executive Committee
- Former member, The Palmetto Institute (South Carolina economic development “think tank”)
- Permanent member, U.S. Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference (invitation only)
- Member, South Carolina Judicial Invitational Golf Tournament (invitation only)
- Defense team captain, International Association of Defense Counsel Trial Academy, 2010
- Former member, Governor of South Carolina Transition Team, 2003
- Former chair, Transition Team's Economic Development Task Force
Awards & Recognitions
- Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation,
Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants 2011-2017
- Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Litigation – Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense – Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, 2014
- Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney in Columbia, SC, 2009, 2012 - 2013, 2017
- Recipient, Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest honor, 1999
- Recipient, Presidential Award for Outstanding Contributions, National Bar Association
- Recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as AV Pre-eminent, 2017
- Acted as co-lead trial counsel in recent complete defense verdict of alleged $110 million commodity fraud case (trial, preceded by substantial summary judgment motion practice), involving officer and director liability, piercing corporate veil/alter ego liability, as well as issues relating to futures markets and international contractual legal issues. Depositions in United Kingdom, Germany and domestically.
- Acted as lead trial counsel in complete defense verdict of 4-5 week jury trial, preceded by substantial summary judgment motion practice and a subsequent successful federal appeal.
- Acted as co-lead trial counsel in two Tennessee class actions.
- Acted as lead counsel and obtained dismissal in two South Carolina class actions, one in which he presented a Fortune 500 chemical company in a toxic tort matter.
- Acted as lead trial counsel and obtained defense verdict in a Virginia class action federal court trial.
- Represented small businesses in the Southeast in a plaintiff class action in which a multimillion-dollar settlement was obtained following the class certification hearing on fraud and the RICO Act.
- Acted as lead trial counsel in major psychiatric medical malpractice case, attaining substantial jury verdict in one of the most conservative counties in South Carolina.
- Served as one of the national coordinating counsel for two Fortune 150 corporations; drug and medical device litigation on a specific product; and national coordinating counsel for the document collection, review and database creation and management for another product.
- Served as firm relationship partner for one of the top five companies on the Fortune 500 list.
Disclaimer: The preceding examples are intended only to be representative of past experiences practicing law. These examples are not intended, and cannot be relied upon, to predict results in any other case.
- Faculty, “Bring Out the Handkerchiefs: How to Handle Jury Sympathy,” Defense Research Institute, Environmental Toxic Tort Litigation Conference
- Faculty, American Board Trial Advocates, South Carolina Chapter, Masters in Trial Program 2011 and 2013
- Faculty, American Board of Trial Advocates, Louisiana Chapter, Masters in Trial Program, 2012
- Faculty, American Board of Trial Advocates, Tennessee Chapter, Masters in Trial Program, 2012
- Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of South Carolina, 1989-1991
- Captain, U.S. Air Force
- Circuit Trial Counsel, U.S. Air Force
- Recipient, Meritorious Service Medal
- Co-Author, “Conducting Voir Dire,” A Young Lawyer’s Guide to Defense Practice, Defense Research Institute, 2015
- Author, “Trends in Criminalization of Business Activities,” National Bar Association, February 2012
- Primary Author, “Class Action Litigation in Federal and State Courts” Course Materials
- “A Jury Harvest: Picking the Right People,” DRI’s Drug and Medical Device Seminar, May 2012
- “Opening Statements,” Arkansas State Bar Annual Convention, June 2012
- “Motions in Limine,” DRI Drug and Medical Device Seminar, May 2005