Duncan Y. Manley

Duncan Y. Manley is a trial lawyer with more than 40 years of experience.

He is a graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee where he obtained a B.A. degree majoring in political science. Thereafter, he was accepted to and graduated from the U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, obtaining his commission as an Ensign. While on active duty, he served on U.S. Navy ships on the West Coast of the United States. After completing his Naval service, he entered Vanderbilt University School of Law and upon graduation, began his legal career with the law firm of Rives, Peterson, Pettus & Conway. In due course, Mr. Manley was made a partner and subsequently served on the Executive Committee and was managing partner for many years.  The firm, then known as Rives & Peterson, was disolved in 2001 and the firm was renamed Christian & Small LLP.

Early in his career, Mr. Manley earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell which is its highest rating and is based upon peer review. This rating relates to Mr. Manley’s ethical standards and legal ability and is based upon demonstrated legal skills and adherence to professional standards of conduct.

Under Mr. Manley’s leadership, Christian & Small became a member of The International Society of Primerus Law Firms. The firm was admitted to Primerus only after a rigorous evaluation from lawyers, judges, current and former clients and insurance carriers.

Mr. Manley has been active in this organization serving as the chairman of the Primerus Defense Institute from 2004 to 2007. He was named Chair Emeritus in 2007, a position he currently holds. In 2011, Mr. Manley was a presenter at the Primerus Defense Institute Annual Convocation. Manley spoke on Attorneys as Problem Solvers – How Companies Can Control Litigation Costs.

Representative Experience

  • Trial lawyer since he first started practicing law. He has defended clients in cases involving a wide range of legal matters such as antitrust actions, commercial disputes, premises liability, professional liability, product liability, retail and hospitality litigation, tort liability, automobile accidents, trucking accidents, insurance coverage, and Worker’s Compensation claims.  His practice is primarily limited to defense representation.
  • Tried cases in state and federal courts in Alabama and Tennessee and has represented clients in administrative tribunals.
  • Involved in appeals to state and federal appellate courts.
  • Frequently consults with clients on risk avoidance and loss control.
  • Clients range from Fortune 500 companies to individuals.
Professional and Community Involvement
  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLM): Past Alabama State Chair; Past CLM Litigation Instructor
  • Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA): Member
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI): Member
  • American Bar Foundation(ABF): Life Fellow
  • International Society of Primerus Law Firms: Chairman, Premier Client Resource Institute, 2016; Chairman, Cross-Border Committee, 2014-Present; Chairman, Primerus Defense Institute, 2004-2007;
  • Primerus Defense Institute, Chairman Emeritus, 2007-present
  • American Bar Association (ABA): Member, Transportation Committee, Product Liability Committee, Trial and Insurance Practice Section
  • Alabama State Bar: Member
  • Alabama Bar Association: Member
  • Birmingham Bar Association: Member
  • Tennessee Bar Association: Member
Awards and Recognition
  • AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell*
  • Recipient of the International Society of Primerus Law Firms Outstanding Service Award, 2005, 2014, 2015
  • American Bar Foundation: Fellow – The Fellows is an honorary organization of attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars who have been elected by their peers to become members of The Fellows. They have demonstrated outstanding achievements and dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession.
  • Primerus Defense Institute, Chairman Emeritus, 2007-Present
Publications and Presentations
  • Author, Words to the Wise: Advice for Young Attorneys, Christian & Small Nonstop Insights Blog (July 2014)
  • Author, Don’t Take Your Clients for Granted, Christian & Small Nonstop Insights Blog (March 2014)
  • Presenter, Incivility in Litigation: Causes and Possible Cures, Primerus Global Conference (2013)
  • Presenter, After the Accident, Truckload Carriers Association (May 2013)
  • Presenter, Attorneys as Problem Solvers – How Companies Can Control Litigation Costs, Primerus Defense Institute Annual Convocation (April, 2011)
  • Co-Author with LaBella S. Alvis, The Evolution of an Idea: The Vision of a Firm, The Primerus Paradigm, 48 (Winter 2011)
  • Author, Building Lasting Client Relationships, The Primerus Paradigm (Summer 2010)
  • Co-Author with LaBella S. Alvis, Be Young, Be Smart, Be Good at Marketing, The Primerus Paradigm, 12 (Spring 2009)
* AV® Preeminent and BV® Distinguished are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.
  • Alabama
  • Tennessee
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Alabama
  • United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Alabama
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee