David L. Cleary

Principal and Shareholder

David L. Cleary, Esq.
Location: Rutland, Vermont
Fax: 802-775-8809
Contact: Contact Me

David L. Cleary, the senior partner and President of the firm, has practiced law in Vermont since 1970.  For over 45 years, he has litigated both plaintiff and defense cases, including personal injury, toxic tort, product liability, aircraft disaster, professional liability, and commercial litigation, trying over 250 cases to verdict.  He is currently very active as a mediator and arbitrator in these areas in Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

The pursuit of his J.D. degree from Cornell University (1970) was interrupted by four years in the U.S. Army.  This included a tour in Vietnam where he participated in ground and water-borne reconnaissance, and other operations with the United States Army and Navy Special Operations Teams in areas controlled by hostile forces.  For these actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star and received special recognition from the government of Vietnam.  His Army unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

Mr. Cleary was a long time member of and counsel to the Vermont Professional Conduct Board, as well as counsel to the Board of Medical Practice in Vermont, and the past-Chairman of the Governor’s Tort Reform Commission.  He continues to serve on the United States District Court Advisory Committee for Vermont.  He lectures frequently to bar associations in Vermont and throughout the northeast.

He loves fishing, hunting, and woodworking, and resides in Mendon with his wife, Valerie, and their fox red Labrador, Reilly.  They have two children, Sean and Megan (who are both attorneys), and four grandchildren.

Areas of Practice

  • Litigation in State and Federal Courts
  • Mediation and Arbitration

Bar Admissions

  • Vermont, 1970
  • U.S. District Court District of Vermont, 1970
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, 1974
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit, 1976


  • Cornell Law School, JD – 1970
  • St. John Fisher College – B.A./B.S. – 1963


  • Lecturer, Vermont Bar Association
  • Lecturer, Defense Research Institute
  • Lecturer, Joan Loring Wing Vermont Inn of Court
  • Seminars, New England Medical Societies
  • Seminars, American Academy of Surgeons
  • Seminars, American Ophthalmology Association
  • Seminars, College of Mental Health Administrators
  • Seminars, Mental Health Organizations
  • Seminars, Medical Care Facilities (including hospitals and clinics)

Honors and Awards

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Rating
  • Chambers & Partners (USA)
  • Who’s Who in America
  • Who’s Who in American Law
  • The International Directory of Lawyers (Who’s Who International)
  • Best Lawyers in America (since 1985 – all editions, including the 25th Anniversary Edition)
  • New England Super Lawyers
  • National Ski Areas Association, Life Time Achievement Award
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Dean and Past President

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow and Vermont State Chair (2015-16)
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, (Dean, 2011-12; President, 2014-15)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Member (Charter member; President, Vermont Chapter 1992-93)
  • Vermont Bar Association, Member
  • Rutland County Bar Association, Member and Past President
  • Defense Research Institute, Member and chair of various committees dealing with insurance coverage issues
  • Federal Bar Association, Member
  • American College of Barristers, Senior Counsel
  • Joan Loring Wing American Inn of Court, Member and frequent lecturer
  • U.S. District Court Advisory Committee for Vermont, Member
  • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, Fellow
  • Northern New England Defense Counsel Association, Member

Contact Us

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