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Patrick J. Cleary

Patrick J. Cleary


An ambitious attorney, Patrick Cleary defends major automotive and device manufacturers against product liability cases in both state and federal court in South Carolina, North Carolina and across the country. Patrick has defended major automotive manufacturers, tier one component suppliers, ATV manufacturers, and others against claims of unintended acceleration, airbag defect, cases and asbestos litigation.  

With a degree in chemical engineering, Patrick particularly enjoys delving into emerging technologies and developing mastery for how a product is designed and operates. His most recent focus has been on the developing technologies and regulations surrounding autonomous vehicles. He translates this knowledge into persuasive and understandable information which he uses to advise and defend his clients.

Patrick’s experience includes representing clients in first-of-its-kind trials involving advanced vehicle technologies, developing creative solutions for mass tort resolution, and defending clients in state Attorneys General consumer protection actions.  

In addition to his practice, Patrick stays active in the legal profession and community.  He has been an active member of several South Carolina Bar Committees, including the Judicial Qualifications Committee. Patrick volunteers with the South Carolina Bar’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, providing pro bono tax assistance to the community. He serves on the Foundation Board for the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics.  He has also served as the Chair of the Leadership Columbia Advisory Board and President of Historic Columbia’s Palladium young professionals group.


Bar Admissions

  • South Carolina, 2011
  • North Carolina, 2009

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit


  • University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D., 2009

    with honors

    J. Nelson Young Scholarship

    Phi Delta Theta Graduate Fellowship

    Pro Bono Award

    NC Journal of Law and Technology, Managing Editor

  • North Carolina State University, B.S., 2006

    Majors: Chemical Engineering, Paper Science and Engineering, History

    summa cum laude

    Senior Class President

    Golden Chain Society

    Phi Kappa Phi

Professional Associations

    • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
    • South Carolina Bar Association
    • —Judicial Qualifications Firm
      —Diversity Committee     
    • Historic Columbia
      —Palladium Society, Past President, 2023
    • —Palladium Society, Vice President, 2018 – 2020 
    • Leadership Columbia Alumni Board
      —Past President
    • South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics
      —Foundation Board Secretary


    • South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division
      —"Stars of the Quarter," 2015 – 2018
    • —President's Award, 2019 – 2020
    • South Carolina Bar
      —Leadership Academy, 2016
    • Columbia Chamber
      —Leadership Columbia, 2014 – 2015

Recent News, Events and Blogs

Speaking Engagements

  • "Panel Discussion on Class Action," Presenter, ADAS and AV Legal Issues and Liabilities Conference, October 2019
  • "Artificial Intelligence and Product Liability," Presenter, Client Update, September 2019
  • "Artificial Intelligence and Legal Practice," Presenter, South Carolina Bar Continuing Legal Education, September 2019
  • “The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence: How It Affects Your Legal Practice,” Presenter, LegalTech Seminar Series University of South Carolina Law School, October 2018
  • “What Product Manufacturers Need to Know Regarding Real-Time Product Data in the Age of Big Data,” Co-Presenter, Client Webinar, July 2018
  • “How Artificial Intelligence Will Impact the Legal Industry,” Client Hot Topics Seminar, May 2018
  • “Emerging Issues in a Post A.I. World,” Panelist, University of South Carolina Law Review Symposium, February 2018
  • "Automated Vehicles and North Carolina – Issues and Questions for the Defense Bar," North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys Fall Seminar, September 2017
  • "Liability of Technology," Moderator, Society of Automotive Engineers 2017 World Congress, April 2017
  • "Invasion of the Car Snatchers: What Happened in the Wired Jeep Hacking Story and What it Means for Electronics-related Product Liability Litigation, both Automotive and Beyond,” Moderator, ABA Product Liability Automotive Sub-Committee Roundtable, May 2016
  • "Reasoning, Writing and Advocacy," Teaching Assistant, University of North Carolina School of Law, 2007