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Trent Cotney

As a Board Certified Construction Lawyer, Trent focuses his practice on all aspects of construction litigation and arbitration, including OSHA defense, lien law, bond law, and bid protests, as well as construction document review and drafting. He routinely represents general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, manufacturers, architects, engineers, developers, owners, and others in the construction industry in a variety of matters. As a State Accredited Contractor Continuing Education Provider, Trent has conducted seminars on such topics as construction contract provisions, licensing, and lien law. He has argued on behalf of contractors before the Construction Industry Licensing Board. In addition, Trent is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator and Qualified Court-Appointed Arbitrator specializing in disputes involving construction law issues.


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

Work Experience

  • Cotney Construction Law, Tampa, FL, January 2012 to present, President
  • Glenn Rasmussen Fogarty & Hooker, P.A., Tampa, FL, January 2006 to January 2012, construction law shareholder and hiring partner
  • Glenn Rasmussen Fogarty & Hooker, P.A., Tampa, FL, April 2000 to December 2005, construction law associate
  • Ruden, McCloskey, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A., Tampa, FL, September 1999 to February 2000, commercial litigation associate
  • Ruden, McCloskey, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A., Ft. Lauderdale, FL, May 1997 to August 1997, June 1998 to August 1998, construction law summer associate


Professional Recognition

  • Best Lawyers in America – Construction Litigation 2013, 2014, 2015
  • Chambers & Partners USA, Listed in Construction Law 2013, 2014
  • Lawyers World, Annual Award 2013
  • U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®, Best Law Firms Construction Law 2010 (GRFH), 2014, 2015
  • AV Peer Review Rated,Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • AVVO 10 out of 10, Superb Rating
  • ICFM Global Awards Winner, 2014
  • FRSA Earl Blank “Heart” Award
  • FRSA President’s Award 2008
  • WCRCA Byron Curry Award 2009
  • Acquisition International Magazine Construction Sector Focused Law Firm of the Year 2014, Best Florida Laywer – OSHA Defense
  • Top Lawyers in Florida, The Legal Network 2014
  • Florida Super Lawyers, Rising Stars, Construction Litigation (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
  • Florida Super Lawyers, Construction Litigation (2013, 2014)
  • Florida Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite, Up & Coming Construction (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Florida Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite, Construction Law (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • ICFM Leading Lawyer 500 Award Winner 2013
  • Law Awards 2014
  • Lawyers World Global Awards 2014
  • Top Attorneys in Florida 2014 (Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Magazine & Orlando Life)
  • Corporate International Magazine Legal Award, OSHA Defense Law Firm of the Year in Florida 2015
  • NRCA Gold Circle Award for Service to the Roofing Industry, 2014
  • 40 Under 40, Gulf Coast Business Review, 2007
  • Tampa Bay Magazine’s Tampa Bay’s Top Lawyers 2010, 2013, 2014
  • ICFM Top 250 Leading Firms 2014
  • Corporate INTL Magazine “Construction Law Firm of the Year in Florida ,” 2010 (GRFH), 2013
  • Business Leaders Magazine, Top 50 Entrepreneurs 2012
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal, Up & Comers, 2010
  • Best Attorney’s Network, Construction Law
  • A.I.M.’s 2014 Business Excellence Award
  • American Registry, America’s Most Honored Professionals 2011, 2014
  • International Who’s Who of Construction Lawyers 2012, 2013, 2014
  • International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2013, 2014, 2015
  • Tampa’s Top Rated Lawyers 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Acquisition International Magazine “Construction Law Firm of the Year — Florida” 2013
  • InterContinental Finance Magazine 2013 Global Award
  • Lawyer Monthly “Construction Law Firm of the Year — USA” 2013
  • 2014 DealMakers Country Award
  • A.I.M.’s 2014 Business Excellence Award
  • Acquisition International Magazine  “Ones to Watch in 2014 — The Most Influential Practice in Construction Law”
  • Legal Media Group, Construction and Real Estate Expert Guide Nominee, 2014



  • Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Construction Law
  • Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator
  • Florida Supreme Court Certified Appellate Mediator
  • American Arbitration Association Construction Mediator
  • Qualified Florida Court-Appointed Arbitrator
  • Department of Business & Professional Regulation Condominium Certified Mediator



  • Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Armed Forces
  • U.S. Supreme Court


Reported Decisions

City of Oldsmar v. State, 790 So.2d 1042 (Fla. 2001).



As a State Accredited Contractor Continuing Education Provider, he speaks on such topics as lien law, construction contracts, construction mediation, licensing regulations, and design defects. Trent lectures across Florida on construction law topics and has given more than 100 seminars for 20 different construction groups, associations and attorneys.



Trent has published more than 100 articles in 15 different publications on such topics as construction mediation, arbitration, negligent design, delay damages, and defective workmanship and is a regular columnist for FRSA and WCRCA trade publications.


Selected Professional and Civic Activities

  • Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC), member
  • Department of Business and Professional Regulation Contractor Continuing Education Lecturer
  • The Florida Bar – Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section
  • Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRSA), (Director, Public Relations Board Committee Chairman, General Counsel, Education & Research Foundation Member)
  • Florida Transportation Builders’ Association (Past Member)
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association – Construction Law Section
  • Humane Society of Tampa Bay (Past Member – Board of Directors)
  • National Utility Contractors Association (Past Member)
  • National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) (Member)
  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (Past Member)
  • Pinellas County Contractors Association, member
  • Underground Utility Contractors of Florida (Past Member)
  • University of Tampa Board of Counselors (Past Board Member)
  • West Coast Roofing Contractor’s Association (WCRCA) (Director)
  • Central Florida Roofing Contractors Association (CFRSA)
  • Roofing Contractors of South Florida Association (RCASF)
  • Palm Beach County Contractors Association (PBCCA)
  • Vanderbilt University Undergraduate and School of Law, Initial Admissions Interviewer