Brian J. Donnelly is a partner in the firm’s General, Tort and Insurance Litigation department. Over his 30 plus years in civil practice, Brian has tried numerous high exposure cases in both state and federal court. Several of these cases have drawn attention from the national and international news media including the first case to go to trial of a fire fighter involved in the post 9/11 recovery efforts at the world trade center site and the alleged rape of a minor at a prominent New York City university. He has tried over 100 civil and criminal cases over the course of his career.
Brian is well known for his relentless powerful style in the Courtroom. On several occasions Judges and lawyers from neighboring courtrooms have attended his trials due the “buzz” in the Courthouse generated by his trials. In recognition of his 36 years of jury trials, he became a member of ABOTA, The American Board of Trial Advocates, an invitation only organization that honors some of the most experienced trial lawyers in the United States. Brian has lectured across the country on a broad range of topics within the field of trial advocacy.
Brian coordinates the response of retail, restaurant, hospitality, and transportation clients to catastrophic incidents. He is “go to ” Counsel for several of the largest companies in the United States for their most serious exposures. In recent years, Brian has represented clients in connection with mass shootings, multiple transportation fatalities, COVID 19 related deaths, and allegations of excessive use of force leading to a fatality. Clients know that Brian is available 24x7 when they face their most challenging emergencies. When formulating their crisis response plan companies regularly turn to Brian.
Brian is in demand as a speaker across the United States for multiple organizations including the CLM and Law Line. As a member of the New York State Bar Association he has been asked to present at many seminars over the years. He is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association where he serves as a mentor to at risk youths in their Student Mentor Program. In 2020 Brian was named a member of the Irish Legal 100, an annual compilation of some of the most distinguished legal professionals throughout the United States.
Prior to law school Brian worked in law enforcement as a U.S Customs Inspector and then following law school served as an Assistant District Attorney in Nassau County, NY. During his three years as an ADA he tried twenty five jury trials to verdict, many involving serious felony offenses. Clients appreciate that Brian brings the investigative skills from his law-enforcement career to civil practice where he formulates targeted investigations to peel back every layer in a case to expose his adversaries’ weaknesses.
Brian has served on the Independent Judicial Screening Panel in New York County. In this capacity Brian worked with fellow panel members to conduct a screening process whereby candidates for judicial office in the Civil Court, New York County were evaluated solely on individual merit without political influence or political interference being a factor.
Areas of Concentration
- Large Exposure, Catastrophe Event Response
- Premises Liability
- Liquor Liability
- Legal Malpractice
- Transportation Liability
- Construction Site Accidents
- Products Liability
- Criminal Defense
- SIU/ Fraud and Arson
- No Fault, PIP/SUM Claims & Loss Transfer