Shining A Light On Success: An In-Depth Look at Senior Associate Matthew D. Cavender

May 31, 2023 by on News

Attorney Spotlight: Matthew D. Cavender

Meet Matthew D. Cavender, a senior associate attorney within Boyd & Jenerette's  Appellate Practice division. Since joining the firm in August 2022, Matthew has demonstrated exceptional legal acumen and an unwavering commitment to his clients' needs.

In this attorney spotlight article, we will take a closer look at Matthew’s background, experience, and work approach, delving into the qualities that distinguish him from his peers in the legal profession.

Can you tell us about your background and how you made the decision to go to law school?

  • I grew up in New Jersey and batted around a few ideas before I decided on law school. After my first year of college, I decided that I wanted to be a police officer and eventually settled on the New Jersey State Police.  They rarely took cadets that young so I planned to do a four-year tour in the Marines first and then apply to be a trooper. Despite the odds, I applied to become a cadet with the New Jersey State Police anyway and ended up being accepted so I shelved the Marines idea and entered the academy. Unfortunately, I ended up getting hurt about halfway through the 26-week academy and had to be medically separated.I intended to go back to the academy after I recovered, but while doing so, I went back to college to finish my undergraduate degree (criminal justice). One of my professors was a lawyer, and she saw potential in me and suggested that I consider law school. After researching law school, I decided to enroll.

What is your role as an attorney at Boyd & Jenerette?

  • At Boyd & Jenerette, I am a senior associate on the appellate team.

What is your day-to-day job like, and what kinds of long-term projects are on your plate?

  • It varies. One day might be nothing but intensive briefing and legal research while other days might involve dozens of emails and providing litigation support to trial counsel. Legal research and writing are the most satisfying part of my job.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

  • Like most lawyers, I find it challenging to balance numerous competing deadlines, especially when urgent tasks arise that cause me to have to reorganize the priority of my list of tasks for the day.

What do you enjoy most about practicing law at Boyd & Jenerette?

  • I am biased, but I think the appellate team is fantastic. Everyone gets along very well and I enjoy working as a team to provide great service for our clients.

When did you begin practicing law?

  • I graduated from law school in 2010 and started practicing right after passing the bar exam that year.

What do you do for fun?

  • I spend most of my free time with my family and try to be outside as much as possible--whether it’s biking, walking the dogs, or kayaking. We’re also big theme park fans so we spend a lot of time at Disney, Universal, and Sea World.

What is an item on your bucket list?

  • I would like to spend more time traveling. I have been to Europe a couple of times, but none of the other continents so I would like visit each of the continents. My parents are taking a cruise around Antarctica later this year, and I am pretty jealous of that!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

  • I was a serious hockey player growing up so of course I wanted to play in the NHL. But having just turned 40 this year, I have come to accept that being a professional hockey player is not likely a viable career path at this point.

Do you have any hidden talents, hobbies, or a fun fact?

  • A fun fact is that my family’s history in the legal field goes back to our nation’s founding. In addition to my uncle, grandfather, and great-grandfather who were all lawyers, going back much further than that, my great(x5)-grandfather was U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall.

What are you most proud of, professionally and/or personally?

  • Personally, I am most proud of my daughters. I have two girls (ages 12 and 11) and they are both smart, funny, and kind, but each possesses their own unique and wonderful personalities. They have both flourished since we made the difficult decision to pack up and move to Florida less than a year ago.Professionally, I do not have a specific accomplishment, but I love it when a court issues an order or opinion that closely tracks the argument I made in the brief. That is a good barometer to know I hit the argument just right.

Who has been your biggest mentor?

  • One was a lawyer who I worked closely with at the firm I joined right after law school. He was unfailingly kind to everyone he met--whether they were a janitor, a client, opposing counsel, or the judge. He also solidified in me the belief that one can attract far more flies with honey than vinegar.The second is the federal judge for whom I clerked for nine years before joining Boyd & Jenerette.  He had seen and done it all as a lawyer before joining the bench so seeing how he approached cases both from an advocate’s perspective and from judge’s perspective was invaluable to my growth as a lawyer.

If you could tell a younger version of yourself something knowing what you know now, what would it be?

  • I would tell a younger version of myself to make more of an effort to connect with people. It is good for the soul and you never know how a connection you make today could end up helping you out many years later.

What are your goals for the next year?

  • I am looking forward to getting a few oral arguments under my belt this year.

Matthew D. Cavender
Senior Associate
Direct: 386.222.7418

About Matthew D. Cavender

Matthew D. Cavender joined the firm in August 2022 and is a senior associate with the Appellate Practice division, working remotely from Melbourne. 

A New Jersey native, Matt graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from New York City’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2006. After teaching high school for a year, he moved to South Carolina to attend law school. He graduated cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2010. While in law school, he served as a Research Editor for the South Carolina Law Review and was a member of the Moot Court Bar. He was also a member of the Order of the Wig and Robe, Order of the Coif, and Federalist Society. 

After law school, Matt practiced for three years with a civil litigation firm in Beaufort, South Carolina, handling a range of matters, including personal injury, construction defects, insurance coverage, bad faith, governmental liability, and § 1983 litigation. In addition to his day-to-day litigation practice, he briefed numerous cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, South Carolina Supreme Court, and South Carolina Court of Appeals. 

In 2013, Matt left private practice to join the federal court system, serving as the career law clerk to the Honorable Terry L. Wooten, United States District Court Judge for the District of South Carolina. In that role, Matt gained extensive experience in all manner of federal litigation, both civil and criminal. Matt served in that role until he joined Boyd & Jenerette. 

Matt is admitted to practice in the state courts of Florida and South Carolina; the United States District Courts for the Northern District of Florida, Middle District of Florida, Southern District of Florida, and District of South Carolina; and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Eleventh Circuit.

Outside of work, Matt enjoys spending time with his wife, Stefanie, and their daughters, Charlize and Sadie Mae. His family and he are enjoying their recent move to the Space Coast and, as long-time Disney fans, their proximity to Disney World. 

Comprehensive Services

Many cases overlap several areas of law. As a full service law firm, we are able to recognize how one legal discipline impacts another. We work as a team on complex issues that require knowledge of a variety of state and federal laws. This multi-disciplinary approach allows clients to receive the large-firm advantage of access to multiple attorneys in a wide scope of practice areas as well as the hands-on customer service offered by a boutique law firm. In addition to civil litigation, employment law, workers’ compensation defense, commercial law, construction law and appeals, our firm also handles professional liability claims.

Our bilingual staff is available to assist with immigration matters, including consular and removal defenses.