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As an attorney, I make it my job to provide clients the resources they need to succeed in the construction industry. By combining legal acumen and business know-how, I’m able to offer them a proactive legal approach that aims to resolve their problems and eliminate risks.

Trent Cotney is a board-certified construction lawyer by the Florida Bar and is licensed in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and D.C. He focuses his practice on all aspects of construction litigation and arbitration, including OSHA defense, lien law, bond law, bid protests, and construction document review and drafting. He routinely represents construction and infrastructure clients, including general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, manufacturers, architects, engineers, roofers, developers, and others in various matters.  Trent is an EU arbitrator for construction related disputes. 

Trent is recognized by his peers throughout the construction industry as one of the leading attorneys in his field of practice. He has received numerous honors and distinctions because of his dedication to the legal profession and his expertise in construction and infrastructure law.

Before joining Adams and Reese, Trent founded and served as the CEO of Cotney Attorneys & Consultants, named a Top 50 Construction Law Firm by Construction Executive Magazine. With over 20 offices, Cotney Attorneys & Consultants serviced the needs of business, infrastructure, and construction clients throughout the United States, Canada and internationally.

In addition to nearly 25 years of assisting his clients in their legal matters, Trent is a zealous advocate for the international commercial roofing industry. He serves as general counsel for more than 10 trade associations and organizations, including the National Roofing Contractors Association, Florida Roofing & Sheet Metal Association, National Slate Association, Roofing Technology Think Tank, Western States Roofing Contractors Association and several other industry associations.

Trent has published more than 1,000 articles in 100 different local, regional and national publications on such topics as construction mediation, arbitration, negligent design, delay damages, contract provisions and defective workmanship. He is the editor and primary author of two Amazon best-selling books, OSHA Defense for the Construction Industry and OSHA Defense: Know Your Rights. The books provide contractors, trades, design professionals, suppliers, manufacturers and others in the industry with an understanding of their rights during an OSHA inspection as well as critical defenses to use after an OSHA citation has been issued.

Trent is a frequent guest on nationally and regionally broadcast podcasts and regularly speaks at events across the globe on topics related to construction and infrastructure law.

Education

  • Vanderbilt University, J.D., 1999, Dean’s List, Best Brief Award
  • Vanderbilt University, B.S., 1996, Phi Beta Kappa, Dean’s List, top 1%, Alexander Heard Award, summa cum laude, high honors

Bar Admissions

  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Massachusetts
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming
  • District of Columbia

Court Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United State Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • United States Court of Federal Claims
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Community Involvement

  • Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Past Board Member
  • University of Tampa Board of Counselors, Past Board Member
  • Vanderbilt University Undergraduate and School of Law, Initial Admissions Interviewer
  • Black Dagger Military Hunt Club, Sponsor

Acknowledgements

  • Board Certified in Construction Law, The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education

Legal Awards

  • Chambers USA - Recognized Practitioner in Construction: Florida, 2013-2022
  • Top 50 Construction Law Firms, Construction Executive Magazine, 2019-2021
  • OSHA Defense Law Firm of the Year, Lawyer’s Monthly, 2015-2018, 2021
  • Top 100 Lawyers, Florida Super Lawyers, 2016-2021
  • Lawyer of the Year, Worldwide Financial Advisor Awards, 2021
  • Construction Litigation, Texas Super Lawyers, 2021
  • Construction Litigation, Mid-South Super Lawyers, 2021
  • Construction Litigation, Illinois, Super Lawyers, 2021
  • Lawyers Worldwide Awards Magazine, Five Star Lawyers, 2021
  • Best International Construction Law Consulting Firm - USA, Build Construction & Engineering, 2021
  • Finance Monthly - Legal Awards, Construction Law, 2021
  • Ranked in Global Guide, Construction, Who's Who Legal, 2021
  • AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • AVVO 10 out of 10, Superb Rating
  • Best Florida Lawyer – OSHA Defense, Acquisition International Magazine
  • Construction Law, Florida Trend, Legal Elite, 2010-2022
  • Top Lawyers, Tampa Magazine, 2019-2021
  • Best Lawyers® - Construction Law, Litigation - Construction, 2013-2023
  • Best Attorney’s Network, Construction Law
  • Construction Litigation, Florida Super Lawyers, 2013-2021
  • International Who’s Who of Construction Lawyers, 2012-2021
  • Acquisition International Leading Advisor Awards - Leading Construction Litigation and Arbitration Lawyer of the Year, Southeast USA, 2019
  • Who's Who Legal Thought Leader in Construction, 2018-2019
  • OSHA Defense Lawyer of the Year, Finance Monthly Law Awards, 2018
  • Construction Litigation Lawyer of the Year in Florida, International Advisory Experts, 2018
  • American Institute of Legal Advocates, Rising Star Immigration Law, 2018
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals, American Registry, 2011, 2014-2017, 2020, 2021
  • International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, 2013-2018
  • Most Outstanding Construction Lawyer Florida, Legal Awards Corporate Insider,2017
  • Best in Construction Litigation Law Services, Global Awards CorporateLiveWire, 2017
  • Excellence in Construction Dispute Resolution Law, Corporate LiveWire, 2017
  • The World’s Leading Lawyers Chosen by Their Peers, Construction and Real Estate, Expert Guide, 2017
  • Florida Super Lawyers® (by Thomson Reuters) Construction Law, 2017-2022
  • Top 100 Lawyers in the World, LegalComprehensive.com, 2016-2017
  • Who's Who Registry Association Edition for Best Lawyers World Rankings, 2016-2017
  • Top Lawyers in Florida, The Legal Network, 2014-2017
  • Best Lawyers in America, Wall Street Journal, 2016
  • Top Rated Lawyer, The American Lawyer Magazine, 2016
  • Best Litigation Attorneys in Orlando, Expertise.com, 2016
  • Construction Lawyer of the Year USA, Finance Monthly, 2016
  • Leading Lawyer 500 Award Winner, InterContinental Finance Magazine, 2013, 2015-2016
  • Tampa Bay Magazine’s Tampa Bay’s Top Lawyers, 2010, 2013-2016
  • Tampa’s Top-Rated Lawyers, 2012-2015
  • Legal Awards - Most Outstanding Construction Lawyer, Corporate Livewire, 2015
  • Construction Lawyer of the Year in Florida, Legal Elite, 2015
  • Law Awards, LegalComprehensive.com, 2014
  • Lawyers World Global Awards, 2014
  • Top Attorneys in Florida, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Magazine & Orlando Life, 2014
  • Tampa Bay Magazine & Orlando Life, Top Attorneys in Florida, Miami Herald, 2014
  • Ones to Watch — The Most Influential Practice in Construction Law, Acquisition International Magazine, 2014
  • Construction, and Real Estate Expert Guide Nominee, Legal Media Group, 2014
  • Annual Award, Lawyers World, 2013
  • Rising Stars, Construction Litigation, Florida Super Lawyers, 2008-2012
  • Up & Comers, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2010
  • Up & Coming Construction, Florida Trend, Legal Elite, 2007-2009
  • 40 Under 40, Gulf Coast Business Review, 2007
  • Law Firm 500, Fastest Growing Law Firms 2019-2021

Business Awards

  • Forbes Next 1000, 2021
  • 5000, 2021
  • CEO 100, 100 Real-World CEOs, 2021
  • The 10 Most Futuristic CEOs of 2021, CIO Views
  • 10 Most Successful CEOs, Industry Era Magazine, 2021
  • Finance Monthly - Legal Awards, Construction Law, 2021
  • 20 Successful CEOs to Watch Out, Industry Tech Insights, 2021
  • Top 20 Pioneering CEOs in 2021, MyTechMag, 2020-2021
  • Golden Adviser Award, Worldwide Financial Advisor Magazine
  • Lawyers World Global Awards, 2014
  • Business Excellence Award, Acquisition International Magazine, 2014
  • DealMakers Country Award, 2014
  • Global Award, InterContinental Finance Magazine, 2013
  • Top 50 Entrepreneurs, Business Leaders Magazine, 2012

Industry Awards

  • Gold Circle Award for Service to the Roofing Industry, National Roofing Contractors Association, 2014
  • Bob Campanella Award, Florida Roofing & Sheet Metal Contractors Association, 2021
  • Outstanding Service Award, Western States Roofing Contractors Association, 2020
  • Joe Whatley Lifetime Achievement Award, West Coast Roofing Contractors Association, 2020
  • The Earl Blank Memorial Heart Award, Florida Roofing & Sheet Metal Association, 2010, 2020
  • Service to the Industry Award, Tennessee Association of Roofing Contractors, 2018
  • Outstanding Company Award, Florida Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA), 2016
  • Byron Curry Award, West Coast Roofing Contractors Association, 2009
  • President’s Award, Florida Roofing & Sheet Metal Association, 2008

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • National Roofing Contractors Association, General Counsel, One Voice Member
  • International Federation for the Roofing Trades, Voting Member
  • Roofing Contractors Association of Washington, General Counsel
  • Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association, General Counsel, Director
  • Western States Roofing Contractors Association, General Counsel
  • The Tile Roofing Industry Alliance, General Counsel
  • Tennessee Association of Roofing Contractors, General Counsel, Member
  • National Slate Association, General Counsel, Member
  • National Women in Roofing, Founding Sponsor
  • Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress, Founding Sponsor, Governor Level Contributor
  • ROOFPAC Political Insiders Council, Member
  • Roofing Technology Think Tank, General Counsel
  • West Coast Roofing Contractors Association, General Counsel
  • Chicago Roofing Contractors Association, Member
  • Construction Partners of Tampa Bay
  • Department of Business and Professional Regulation Contractor Continuing Education Lecturer
  • The Florida Bar – Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section
  • Tennessee Bar Association — Construction Law Section
  • Associated Builders & Contractors Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, Member
  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association, Member
  • Roofing Contractors of South Florida Association, Member
  • Palm Beach County Contractors Association, General Counsel, Member
  • Randall Mechanical, Inc. v. Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor, (11th Cir.) 2020 WL 1287750
  • Cloer v. Green Mountain Specialties Corp., (M.D. Fla.) 2018 WL 7287153
  • Spivey Utility Construction Company v. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (M.D. Fla.) 2018 WL 4207997
  • Jody Wilson Constr., Inc., Respondent., 2018 O.S.H. Dec. (CCH) 33661 (CMPAU Feb. 28, 2018)
  • Knight v. Curry's Roofing, LLC (M.D. Fla.) 2016 WL 11594795
  • In re: Petition for Declaratory Statement of Hernando County, Construction Industry Licensing Board, DS 2015-056 (2015) (intervenor FRSA).
  • In re: Petition for Declaratory Statement of J&K Roofing, Inc., Construction Industry Licensing Board, DS 2015-129 (2015) (intervenor FRSA).
  • In re: Petition for Declaratory Statement of SGS Contracting, Construction Industry Licensing Board, DS 2015-137 (2015) (intervenor FRACCA).
  • In re: Petition for Declaratory Statement of TSC Southeast, LLC, Construction Industry Licensing Board, DS 2015-138 (2015) (intervenor).
  • In re: Petition for Declaratory Statement of City of Orlando, Construction Industry Licensing Board, DS 2014-099 (2014) (intervenor FRSA).
  • In re: Petition for Declaratory Statement of Robert Cade, Construction Industry Licensing Board, DS 2014-098 (2014) (intervenor FRSA).
  • In re: Petition for Declaratory Statement of Pro/Max Construction LLC, Construction Industry Licensing Board, DS 2014-70 (2014) (intervenor FRSA).
  • In re: Petition for Declaratory Statement of Sun Star Energy LLC, Construction Industry Licensing Board, DS 2013-043 (2013) (intervenor FRSA).
  • City of Oldsmar v. State, 790 So.2d 1042 (Fla. 2001)
  • Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Construction Law, inaugural class
  • Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator
  • Florida Supreme Court Certified Appellate Mediator
  • American Arbitration Association Construction Mediator
  • Member of AAA Panel of Construction Arbitrators
  • Qualified Florida Court-Appointed Arbitrator
  • Department of Business & Professional Regulation Condominium Certified Mediator
  • OSHA 10 Hour Safety Training Certification
  • OSHA 30 Hour Safety Training Certification
  • OSHA 24 Hour HAZWOPER Training