Duncan Y. Manley

Jane Edgerton


  • University of the South, , B.A. (Order of the Gownsmen, Phi Delta Theta Fraternity)
  • Vanderbilt University School of Law, , LL.B. (Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity)
  • Duncan 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, Duncan was made a partner and subsequently served on the firm’s Executive Committee and was managing partner for many years. The firm, then known as Rives & Peterson, was dissolved in 2001 and renamed Christian & Small LLP.

    Under Duncan’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. He has been active in this organization serving as the chairman of the Primerus Defense Institute from 2004 to 2007 and thereafter was named Chair Emeritus, a position he currently holds.

    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 Emeritus, Primerus Defense Institute (2007-Present); Chairman, International Convocation Committee (2016-2017); Chairman, Premier Client Resource Institute (2016); Chairman, Cross-Border Committee (2014-Present); Chairman, Primerus Defense Institute (2004-2007)
    • 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, 2016
    • 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, 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)
    * 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