David Donovan


Donovan, David

David Donovan is a litigator who focuses his practice on a wide range of complex commercial and regulatory disputes and investigations, including in the areas of product liability, financial services, securities fraud, antitrust,  insurance, corporate governance, internal investigations, employment, and trademark and copyright licensing and protection.

Mr. Donovan  joined the firm in 1985. He left the firm in 2005 to serve as general counsel for the Washington Redskins NFL franchise, where he represented the team and related businesses, their officers and directors in commercial and regulatory matters. During his six years with the team, Mr. Donovan also served for three years as its chief operating officer, as well as general counsel to Red Zebra Broadcasting and president of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation. He returned to the firm in 2011.

Mr. Donovan has represented clients before state and federal courts all over the United States, as well as before regulatory agencies, including the SEC and OCC, and provides ongoing advice concerning legislative and litigation developments.

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, The Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
  • Recognized for exceptional standing in the legal community in the area of general commercial litigation by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2012-2018 editions of the Best Lawyers in America in the area of commercial litigation
  • Awarded Global Competition Review's 2017 award for Litigation of the Year: Cartel Defense for class action settlements achieved on behalf of DENSO Corporation
  • Iowa State University Dept. of Political Science Alumni Achievement Award, 2008
  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Pro Bono Award, 1992

Publications & News


August 16, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers Named Among the 2018 Best Lawyers in America®, Nine Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Best Lawyers in America®—the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal industry—recognizes 107 WilmerHale lawyers and names nine partners as Lawyers of the Year in its 24th edition.

March 30, 2017

WilmerHale Wins Two Global Competition Review Awards

The firm received the Litigation of the Year – Cartel Defence award for its representation of Denso and the Litigation of the Year – Cartel Prosecution award for its representation of candy-maker Katjes.

August 15, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers Named Among the 2017 Best Lawyers in America®, Six Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Best Lawyers in America®—a respected peer-review publication in the legal industry—recognizes 101 WilmerHale lawyers and names six partners as Lawyers of the Year in its 23rd edition.

May 16, 2016

Professional Sports and the Law Honors WilmerHale as Top 20 Firm Representing Pro Teams

The online magazine chose firms based on their work with teams across four sports leagues: Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League.

February 14, 2005

Annual Chambers USA Results Are Out and Seventy-Six WilmerHale Lawyers Are In

Chambers & Partners Released its Findings for the 2005 Edition of Chambers USA, Naming Dozens of Lawyers from WilmerHale as “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business”

December 15, 2004

Motion to Dismiss a Shareholder Derivative Action Against Primus Telecommunications Group, Inc. Granted

The Case Against Primus Telecommunications was Dismissed and the Plaintiff was Denied Leave to Amend

July 16, 2004

Judge Rejects All Claims in US Office Products Securities Fraud Class Action Suit

WilmerHale Represents US Office Products in Victory

April 30, 1983

Retroactive Awards of Attorneys' Fees: Finding a Fair Interpretation of the Equal Access to Justice Act

Geo. LJ 1279

Professional Activities

Mr. Donovan is a member of both the Diversity Law Institute and The Trial Law Institute. He is also a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the Commonwealth of Virginia Bar and he is admitted to practice before a number of federal courts, including the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth and Sixth Circuits, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the United States Supreme Court.


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JD, magna cum laude, Georgetown University Law Center, 1984, Editor-in-Chief, Georgetown University Law Journal

BS, Journalism and Political Science, with Honors, Iowa State University, 1980, Editor-in-Chief, Iowa State Daily, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

United States Supreme Court

District of Columbia



The Hon. Thomas A. Flannery, US District Court for the District of Columbia, 1984 - 1985

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