Craig Cleland defends employers in litigation—including class and collective actions—and counsels them in risk management and compliance. He is the former Chair and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Class Action Practice Group. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgia State University College of Law, where he teaches Complex Litigation.
Craig is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers as well as a Fellow of the Trial Lawyer Honorary Society of the Litigation Counsel of America. He has been recognized as a BTI Client Service All-Star twice—one of a small number of employment lawyers in the U.S. who “combine exceptional legal expertise with practical advice, business savvy and creative, effective solutions.”
In addition to defending employers in litigation, Craig serves as a mediator or as settlement counsel in complex or difficult cases, and he is a graduate of the Harvard Law School Mediation Program. Also, Craig is a contributor to Black’s Law Dictionary, Garner’s Modern American Usage, Lindemann & Grossman’s Employment Discrimination Law, and Kearns’s Fair Labor Standards Act.
During law school, Craig was the Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review and Best Oralist in the McKenzie-McPhail Moot Court Competition. After graduating in 1992, he clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Marvin H. Shoob in Atlanta for two years.
He then practiced at Paul Hastings LLP—including one year as Senior Employment Counsel at Georgia-Pacific Corp.—from 1994 to 2002, when he joined Ogletree, where he has practiced since. Before law school, he was a lay chaplain, teacher, and coach at The Lovett School in Atlanta for six years.
- J.D., cum laude, Georgia State University, 1992
- S.T.M., with honors, Yale University, 1983
- M. Div., with honors, Vanderbilt University, 1981 (Folkerth Scholar)
- B.A., cum laude, Valdosta State University, 1978
Admitted to Practice:
- U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Georgia
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Georgia Supreme Court
- Georgia Superior Court
- Atlanta Bar Association (Board Member, Labor & Employment Section)
- Atlanta Legal Aid Society (Advisory Committee)
- American, State of Georgia, and Atlanta Bar Associations
- Federal Bar Association
- American Employment Law Counsel
- Successfully defended numerous Fortune and other companies in a wide range of industries in high-stakes litigation in federal and state courts around the country.
- Negotiated and obtained approval of favorable settlements in class- and collective-actions and other cases.
- Served as lead trial counsel in multiple single-plaintiff cases and arbitrations and in a class action.
- Successfully represented employers in federal and state appellate courts.
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