Courage. Conviction. Commitment. Trust.
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Daniel L. Clayton

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Practice Areas

  • Personal Injury

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee, 1987


Daniel Clayton named Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" - Nashville - Medical Malpractice Law (2023) and "Lawyer of the Year" - Nashville - Personal Injury Law (2022). 

Best Lawyers compiles its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. The current edition of The Best Lawyers in America is based on more than 3.9 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers. The lawyers being honored as "Lawyers of the Year" have received particularly high ratings in our surveys by earning a high level of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity.

Daniel has received 7 Lawyer of the Year Awards since 2012. 5 of those have been in Medical Malpractice and the other 2 in Personal Injury and Product Liability. 

In addition, Daniel Clayton was named to 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice Law, Personal Injury Litigation and Product Liability Litigation. Daniel has also been selected to Mid South Super Lawyers Top 50 Lawyers in Nashville, and Top 100 lawyers in Tennessee.  

Professional Background - A Leader in the Law. 

Daniel Clayton is certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification and is also certified in the area of Medical Malpractice by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (Tennessee only). Only a few attorneys in the state of Tennessee hold both certifications. Daniel has been named to Best Lawyers in America ( as well as being selected for inclusion as a Mid-South Super Lawyer ( – a list compiled by Law and Politics magazine featuring the top 5% of attorneys in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.  Not only was Daniel included in this list, but Mid-South Super Lawyers also listed him in the Top 50 lawyers in Nashville and Top 100 lawyers in Tennessee. He is also a member of the National Trial Lawyers Association which is a national organization composed of The Top 100 Trial Lawyers from each state. Membership is obtained through special invitation and is extended only to those attorneys who exemplify superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature, and profile as civil plaintiff or criminal defense trial lawyers. Because of his success and insight, he is a much sought after speaker on the subject of trial practice. He has given presentations across the state of Tennessee, Florida and Georgia not only to other attorneys, but also as a featured speaker at multiple seminars for Tennessee judges. He has tried cases in Alabama, Kentucky and across the state of Tennessee. He has represented clients in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, Michigan, Illinois and Florida.

Daniel is a Past President of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association. He also serves on the Board of Governors for the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Organization and is a member of the American Association for Justice. He is a member of the Circle of Advocates and served as the President for the Nashville Bar Foundation. Daniel was selected as a Senior Counsel member of the American College of Barristers. The status of Senior Counsel is a distinction honoring his skill and experience as a trial lawyer as well as his demonstrated commitment to promoting excellence in the art of trial advocacy. Daniel was also appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court to serve two terms as a hearing officer for the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.

Daniel is a graduate of Lipscomb University (B.A. 1984) and the University of Tennessee College of Law (J.D. 1987). While in law school, he was a National Semi-Finalist member of the National Trial Moot Court Team. He received the United States Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell Medal for Excellence in Advocacy. He is listed in Who's Who in American Law and is a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the legal community. Daniel enjoys an AV-Preeminent rating with Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating that can be achieved and identifies lawyers with preeminent legal ability as well as the highest professional and ethical standards.

Community Service - A Leader in his Community. 

Giving back to the community is an important part of Daniel's life. As he says, “My mother and father emphasized faith, family and service. They not only taught it - they lived it. My father was a minister. All of my brothers have served in the ministry.  My mother was the one who cast the vision for me to go to law school.  I remember when I was in law school going home and visiting my mother and father shortly before my father passed away from cancer. He asked me ‘Daniel, what will you do to serve?’ I have used that question to help guide me in my life, not only in my law practice, but in my community and with my own family and my children. I remember that conversation with him just as vividly now as the day it occurred 36 years ago.”

In 1994, Daniel was elected to the Franklin Special School District Board of Education. He served as the Treasurer of the Franklin Special School District Board of Education from 1994-1997. During his tenure, the Franklin Special School District received the Tennessee School Board of the Year Award from the Tennessee School Board Association.

Daniel has been involved as a team leader in missions work, not only on U.S. soil, but also in areas of Mexico and Jamaica. He and his wife have been involved in the Williamson County Foster Parent Association. For 17 years, they have served as foster parents to over 25 children including special needs and disabled children. They actively support Graceworks Ministries and other non-profit organizations. Daniel served as a Youth Basketball Coach for 14 years with the YMCA, Williamson County Recreational League, Grassland Athletic Association, and the West Nashville Sports League. 

Courtroom Success - A Commitment to Excellence. 

Daniel has handled numerous high-profile cases that have received local and national media attention including the death in an automobile/motorcycle wreck of the world's most decorated aerobatic pilot (whose planes are on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.); the wrongful death of a woman after the car she was driving burst into flames after it was hit in the rear-end by a tractor-trailer; the disabling back injuries a man received when a deck collapsed because of improper construction, causing him to fall 20 feet; the death of a well-known pharmacist after his CT scans were misread, and severe injuries a lady received after pure 99.9% acetic acid, instead of a 4% solution, was used on her during a gynecologic procedure. Randy Kinnard and Daniel Clayton obtained a 22 million dollar jury verdict believed to be the largest medical malpractice verdict in Tennessee history for an individual person at the time. Daniel has successfully handled multiple brain injury cases including birth trauma injuries. He also handled multiple cases against defendants in the Tennessee fungal meningitis matter. 

Some of his verdicts include: a Davidson County jury awarded $5,000,000.00 in a medical malpractice claim involving the wrongful death of a child who was almost 2 years old following a misdiagnosis.  The plaintiff was represented by Daniel in the trial where the Honorable Joe Binkley presided.

A Rutherford County jury awarded 1.96 million dollars in damages to, Scott Summerville, who was represented at trial by Daniel.  This verdict was part of a nearly $3 million dollar verdict in a wrongful death and personal injury trial presided by Judge Royce Taylor.  Newspaper reports indicate that the jury verdict is the largest award ever made in a Rutherford County car-crash case.

His areas of practice include catastrophic and personal injury, tractor trailer and charter bus accidents, including accidents caused by tire explosion/defective tires on buses and trucks, automobile collisions, wrongful death, medical negligence, and product liability. For more information regarding Board Certification, please visit and

Frequent Speaker 

During his career, Daniel has been asked by numerous organizations to speak to their members. He has given speeches to lawyers, legal professionals, health care professionals and judges. He has testified before State Senate and House Committees on issues involving our jury system. He has been a featured guest Editorialist for The Tennessean on Nursing Home Issues. Here are the titles of some of his presentations:

  • Handling the Medical Malpractice Claim - the Plaintiff's Perspective
  • Depositions, A Guide for Every Lawyer
  • Handling the Automobile Wreck case 
  • The Essential Elements of handling the Automobile Collision case 
  • RoadBuilders Bill - Proving Road Construction Cases 
  • The Impact of Governor Haslam's Tort Reform Bill on Medical Malpractice 
  • Hot Topics in Medical Malpractice
  • Medical Malpractice – Staying up with the New Medical Malpractice Law
  • Trial Strategies for a Changing World
  • The Law of Subrogation in Tennessee
  • Effectively Handling Medical Malpractice Cases in Tennessee
  • Introduction to Nursing Home Litigation
  • Medical Malpractice – The New Law and Beyond
  • The 21st Century Trial Attorney – Success through Education and Motivation
  • Tort Law Update – The Most Important Cases of the Year
  • Three Important Aspects of Voir Dire
  • Seven Steps Followed by Highly Effective Legal Nurse Consultants
  • Winning Ways of Master Trial Lawyers: Walking the Walk; Talking the Talk
  • Trial Practice Changes after the Jury Reform Commission Report
  • Filling your Toolbox
  • Breaking the Chains that Lead to Defeat – A Closer Look at Opening Statements
  • HIPPA – New Regulations Impacting our Practice
  • Standard of Review on Appeal
  • Planting the Seed: The Effective Use of Voir Dire
  • Auto Torts Litigation: Resolution by Settlement, Mediation or Trial
  • Medical Malpractice in a Nutshell
  • Auto Torts: Preparing Your Case for Settlement and Trial
  • The Ethical Solicitation and Representation of Clients
  • Auto Torts: Depositions that Win
  • Paralegals and the Litigation Team in Tennessee
  • Litigation: Trial Practice for Legal secretaries and Legal Assistants
  • Personal Injury Seminar: First Contact and Meeting with the Client

Other Information. 

Daniel enjoys running (Chicago Marathon, Music City Marathon-Half Marathon, Savannah Half-Marathon), fishing, reading, playing golf with family, and playing tennis. Most of all, he enjoys spending time with his family – and vacationing in beautiful Seagrove Beach, Florida.


  • Best Lawyers in America since 2010
  • Selected to the Mid-South Super Lawyers (2006-2021)
  • Top 50 Lawyers in Nashville by Super Lawyers® (2012-2021)
  • Top 100 Lawyers in Tennessee by Super Lawyers® (2007, 2010-2021)
  • The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • 2022 Nashville “Lawyer of the Year” for Personal Injury Litigation
  • 2020 Nashville “Lawyer of the Year” for Medical Malpractice law
  • 2018 Nashville “Lawyer of the Year” for Medical Malpractice law
  • 2016 Nashville “Lawyer of the Year” for Product Liability Law
  • 2015 Nashville “Lawyer of the Year” for Medical Malpractice Law
  • 2012 Nashville “Lawyer of the Year” for Medical Malpractice Law
  • AV Preeminent® rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Voted “Best of The Bar” by Nashville Business Journal (2021,2020)

Professional Associations

  • Tennessee Association for Justice, Past President
  • American College of Barristers, Senior Counsel
  • Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility, Hearing Officer
  • Southern Trial Lawyers Association, Member
  • Tennessee Association for Justice, Member
  • Nashville Bar Association, Member
  • American Association for Justice, Member
  • Tennessee Bar Association, Member
  • Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association (President, 2008-2009)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (Jan. 2021)
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Certified Civil Trial Specialist, National Board of Legal Specialty Certification
  • Board-Certified in the Area of Medical Malpractice, American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys
  • Civil Pre-Trial Procedure, National Board of Trial Specialty


  • University of Tennessee College of Law, Knoxville, Tennessee
    • J.D. - 1987
    • Honors: National Semifinalist Member, National Trial Moot Court Team
    • Honors: Who's Who in American Law
    • Honors: AV Rating with Martindale-Hubbell
  • David Lipscomb University
    • B.A. - 1984

Classes & Seminars

  • Top Tips for Depositions, Tennessee Bar Association
  • Essential Elements of Handling the Automobile Wreck Case
  • Medical Malpractice Update
  • Proving Road Construction Cases
  • The Impact of the Tort Reform Bill
  • Hot Topics in Medical Malpractice
  • Effectively Handling Medical Malpractice Cases in Tennessee
  • Introduction to Nursing Home Litigation

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Nashville Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Franklin Special School District Board of Education
  • Williamson County Foster Parent Association
  • Graceworks Ministries
  • Faith Family Medical Clinic
  • Mercy Children’s Medical Clinic