A Litigation Firm with Deep Roots
Founded in 1973, Downey & Cleveland has exclusively focused its practice on the trial of civil matters, concentrating on the defense of personal injury, medical malpractice, automobile liability, professional liability, premises liability, construction litigation, bad faith/direct actions, and a variety of other civil cases.
Since its inception, Downey & Cleveland has consistently provided its clients with quality legal representation and cost-effective litigation solutions. The collective trial and appellate experience of the attorneys currently in and associated with the firm exceeds 2,500 jury trials and appeals. Given the extent of the trial experience of its attorneys, as well as the firm’s commitment to efficient handling of all civil litigation matters, Downey & Cleveland is uniquely suited to meet the needs of its clients.
The Bobby Cleveland Award
A founding partner of the firm, Bobby Cleveland, exemplified professionalism. In his honor, the Cobb County Bar Association annually awards a local attorney exhibiting the highest level of professionalism in the practice of law with the Bobby Cleveland Award. At the height of his career, Bobby Cleveland was tragically killed in a farming accident in 1989. As one of our firm’s former partners, the late John Moore of Moore, Johnson, Ingram & Steele, described his longtime friend:
Bobby truly epitomized the higher level of conduct which we, as attorneys, should seek to achieve in our profession. He always accorded opposing attorneys every accommodation within his control and handled his cases without creating acrimony — the vast, vast majority of which he won.
(John Moore, left, Lynn Downey, center, and Bobby Cleveland)
The late Justice Harris P. Hines of the Supreme Court of Georgia similarly recalled that Bobby Cleveland could be adversarial, without being unpleasant or unprofessional. Bobby could “nice you to death in front of a jury.”
At Downey & Cleveland, we are proud of this tradition, and it is a legacy we strive to uphold in all aspects of our practice. We believe strongly in the value of professionalism — both for the Bar and for our clients.
A Rich History in Marietta, GA
Our firm has humble beginnings. Bobby Cleveland and Lynn Downey started a small firm off the square in Marietta, GA in 1973. The pairing of Lynn – who approached litigation as nothing less than legal warfare, and Bobby – who employed a more gentlemanly approach to litigation – somehow worked. While Lynn would often be wise to avoid opposing counsel after a trial ended, Bobby counted many of his adversaries among his closest friends. But the dichotomy proved effective both in the courtroom and for the firm, and it is from these humble beginnings that our firm has grown into what it is today.
While both Lynn and Bobby have passed, their legacy continues today, as Downey & Cleveland celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2023. The small historic Cole House where the firm began has its own rich history. Cole House was built by local businessman Henry Greene Cole after he moved to Marietta from New York in 1838 to work for the Western & Atlantic Railroad.
In addition to his work as a railroad surveyor, he became owner of several local farms and the Marietta Hotel on the Marietta Square. Mr. Cole opposed secession, and during the Civil War, he provided information on railroad topography and Confederate troop movements to the Union Army. Henry Cole was arrested by the Confederates and briefly imprisoned in Charleston, SC. Returning to Marietta upon his release, he lived again in the Cole House. Before his death, he donated the land for the 23-acre Marietta National Cemetery, which is located directly adjacent Cole House. The Cole House is designated on the National Registry of Historic Places, and the Marietta History Museum on the square has a permanent display dedicated to the history of Cole House and its original owner.
As We Grow, We Remember the Past
Cole House was renovated over the years to accommodate a growing number of lawyers and clients. With its growth, the firm continued to honor its founders, with a memorial portrait of Bobby Cleveland displayed in the lobby at Cole House and watercolor paintings by Lynn Downey featured throughout the office. Continuing to expand, the firm recently acquired a bank building next door. In the early years, Lynn and Bobby found that taking the firm’s attorneys to lunch was an excellent way to build camaraderie and explore legal strategies. Even as we have expanded our footprint, we continue their tradition today, with many of our firm’s more than 20 lawyers gathering in the parking lot for lunch each weekday as business allows.
While most law firms change names as partners come and go, it seems fitting that our firm remains Downey & Cleveland. We plan to keep it that way for another 50 years.
As we continue to innovate and advocate on behalf of our clients, we also remember the past and strive to conduct our practice in a way that we believe would make our founding partners proud.
Speak with an Attorney at Downey & Cleveland, LLP
If you would like to know more about our firm’s history, practice, or our current team of skilled litigators, we invite you to contact us. To schedule an appointment with a lawyer at Downey & Cleveland, LLP, please call 770-422-3233 or contact us online today.