Mr. Clayton has been practicing law since 1987 and is admitted to practice in Florida, New Jersey and New York. He attended Washington & Lee University and received his undergraduate and law degrees from Seton Hall University. He founded The Clayton Law Firm, P.A. in 1996 after practicing with highly regarded law firms prior to that time. After 20 years of having his own law firm, Mr. Clayton became a shareholder in Icard Merrill in 2016.
Mr. Clayton has been “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell since 1998 and has been designated as a Florida Super Lawyer from 2012 to 2017 , a distinction awarded to less than five percent of Florida lawyers, signifying the fact that his peers in the legal profession rated his work and ethics at the highest level. He has also been recognized as one of Florida’s “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend magazine in 2013 and 2014. For his entire career, Mr. Clayton has engaged in complex commercial litigation and investment related lawsuits and arbitration.
He has a unique background, having worked in the securities industry in New York and New Jersey for several years before he became an attorney. That has provided him with invaluable insights in investment-related matters. “Drew” has handled hundreds of securities disputes involving millions of dollars, ranging from customer disputes with brokerage firms to a federal court case in which he recovered almost $24 million in investment losses for Sarasota County arising from a major bank’s mismanagement of the county’s securities lending portfolio.
He also represents registered representatives of brokerage firms who have disputes with their former employers.
Mr. Clayton is well known in the community of lawyers who handle investment cases, and he has been asked over the years to speak at national conferences of securities attorneys. He has also served as a leader in the legal community, completing his 2010-2011 term as president of the Judge John M. Scheb American Inn of Court, a Sarasota chapter of a national organization devoted to promoting civility, professionalism and ethics in the practice of law. That organization selected Mr. Clayton from the Sarasota legal community to receive its Professionalism Award in 2012. Mr. Clayton presently serves on the board of the Sarasota County Bar Association, where he acts as both secretary and treasurer. He has previously been asked by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation to serve on an advisory panel charged with the responsibility of detecting and reporting large scale securities frauds, such as “Ponzi” schemes.
In addition to his leadership role in the legal community, Mr. Clayton has also been active in other public service endeavors, including prior service as a supervisor for a community development district, on an advisory panel for the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners, as president of The Players Theater from 1998 to 2003, and as the founding scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop. Mr. Clayton also served as an officer in the United States Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps for 14 years, completing his service at the rank of major in 2003. He is also a private pilot, and serves as treasurer of a flying club.
He is the proud husband of Kate and father of two fine sons, both of whom are talented musicians. From time to time, if he can talk them into it, they let him play the guitar with them!