James P. Donovan Senior Counsel




Jim Donovan is a senior litigator at Wilson Elser and served for 17 years as chair of the firm’s Product Liability practice, one of its largest and most established areas of concentration. Jim also was a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and held a number of other key leadership positions as the firm was expanding its national and international footprint. In 2011, Jim transitioned to an advisory role and continues to represent clients as well as foster the next generation of the firm’s product liability practice leaders.

Throughout his career, Jim has focused on representing Asia-based manufacturing and design corporations in complex product liability and personal injury litigation on a national basis. He coordinated the firm’s work with Japanese manufacturers for many years. Jim has defended an extensive array of products and has particular experience with motorized recreational vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, motorcycles and golf carts. His current practice involves the defense of automobiles and their components. In addition to handling cases in New York and supervising litigation across the country, Jim has counseled clients on risk management, product liability prevention techniques and document retention programs.

Jim first applied his technical and mechanical aptitude as a lawyer in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s office, where he handled civil litigation and investigations arising from accidents on military bases. He then went to work handling aviation product liability matters at another law firm before joining Wilson Elser in 1978.

Professional Activities
Jim has conducted numerous training seminars, lectures and presentations in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China on product liability and U.S. litigation topics. He has addressed multiple corporations, manufacturers, distributors and organizations, including the Fordham University School of Law, Continuing Education Department; Practising Law Institute; Risk Insurance Management Society; Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO); Korean Trade Promotion Corporation (KOTRA); Insurance School of the Pacific; and Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.

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