Darrell A. Clay, a partner in the litigation services group of Walter | Haverfield, will assume the position of president of Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA) at the organization’s annual meeting on Friday, June 2. Clay, who has been practicing law since 1994, has been an active member of CMBA for 20 years.

In addition to helping guide the operations of CMBA for the next 12 months, Clay will direct the continued implementation of the organization’s new strategic plan. Key objectives of the new plan include strengthening membership by enhancing the overall value proposition for members, promoting the organization as a go-to source for thought leadership in law and justice, and repositioning the organization to be more relevant and appeal to changing demographics, including younger members.

“I am excited about the opportunity to be in the driver’s seat to help make this new strategic vision a reality,” said Clay. “Although it won’t be wrapped up by the end of my term, I hope to have the overall direction and foundation for growth in good shape for my successor. I want people to experience CMBA in a new way and promote the idea that this isn’t your father’s bar association.”

Clay has a long history of active participation in CMBA. Among other services, he has served on the membership (recruitment), admissions and grievance committees. He is a Fellow of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation, as well as the Ohio State Bar Foundation.

“I believe attorneys should give back to their profession,” said Clay. “Despite the jokes often targeted against lawyers, I am proud to be in this field. Lawyers help protect rights and liberties, and CMBA can impact the community in meaningful ways relative to law and justice issues.”

The upcoming CMBA Annual Meeting is significant as it marks the 10th anniversary since the Cleveland and Cuyahoga County bar associations came together. The Cleveland Bar Association traces its roots back to 1873.

“I believe in the CMBA and am confident that I’m a better leader and a better lawyer because of being a member,” said Clay.

Although Clay began his legal career in New Orleans, he has been practicing law in Cleveland with Walter | Haverfield since 1997. He serves as vice-chair of the firm’s litigation services group, with a personal practice focused on complex civil and white collar criminal matters covering a wide variety of subjects, including antitrust, construction, unfair competition, First Amendment, and other matters. In addition, drawing on his experience as an instrument-rated commercial pilot and airplane owner, Clay has an active aviation law practice that includes advice, counseling and representation of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation companies in transactional, administrative and litigation matters.

“In addition to being an excellent lawyer, Darrell’s outstanding leadership skills and ability to build consensus make him particularly well-suited to lead the CMBA as its president,” said Ralph Cascarilla, managing partner at Walter | Haverfield.

Clay is licensed to practice law in Ohio and Louisiana. He graduated magna cum laude from Tulane University School of Law and received his M.A. and B.A. from the University of South Florida. He has been selected to Ohio Super Lawyers list for the past eight years in the areas of business litigation, criminal defense, white collar, and aviation law and was named a Leading Lawyer by Inside Business in the area of antitrust law. Clay currently resides in Strongsville.