|Kathleen M. O’Donnell
For over thirty years, Kathy O'Donnell has been an advocate for consumers both in and out of the courtroom. She concentrates her practice in all aspects of serious personal injury litigation, including construction site accidents, medical malpractice, automobile collisions, liquor liability, premises liability, and falls on snow and ice. She also represents people in their worker's compensation cases. A trial attorney with a proven record of success in the courtroom, her advocacy skills draw on her commitment to making a difference for her clients and the community at large. Kathy works for people – not for corporations. She has taken on insurance companies, big businesses, cities, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
A frequent lecturer and published writer, Kathy has held executive and leadership positions with major legal associations in Massachusetts. She is past President of the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, and the Greater Lowell Bar Association. She was listed by the Massachusetts Lawyer's Weekly in 1995 as one of the top ten lawyers in Massachusetts and in 1997 as one of the twenty-five most influential lawyers in Massachusetts between 1972 and 1997. The National Law Journal also named her one of the twelve most influential lawyers in Massachusetts in 2000. In 1996 and 1997 the American Association of Justice (an organization with 60,000 members) awarded her the prestigious Weidemann Wysocki Citation of Excellence for her commitment to the civil justice system. She has been listed by Boston Magazine as a Massachusetts Super Lawyer since 2004 in the category of Best of Boston Personal Injury. Kathy was the first female member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and she has been listed consistently in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Law, Who's Who of American Women, and Who's Who in the East. Kathy's peers have given her the highest rating established by Martindale Hubbell's Legal Directory. This rating is only given to lawyers and law firms which are considered to have a very high to pre-eminent legal ability and who are thought to embrace very high professional standards.
Lawyers and law firms from throughout the country seek Kathy's advice on cases they are handling and on trial and insurance issues. Kathy has been asked to speak to Congress and to numerous state legislatures about auto insurance issues and about the impact changes to automobile laws will have on consumers and on people hurt in automobile collisions.
Kathy has been involved in many community activities and after September 11, 2001 she led the effort of the Massachusetts Bar Association to ensure that civil rights and civil liberties would not be curtailed in the aftermath of the attack and she worked with other organizations in urging citizens throughout the Commonwealth to adopt a resolution opposing those parts of the U.S.A. Patriot Act and related Federal Executive Orders which curtailed civil rights and civil liberties. During her tenure at the Massachusetts Bar Association, Kathy urged that organization to file an Amicus Brief in the Goodridge case (the decision of the highest Court in Massachusetts which recognized the legality of same-sex marriage) and, as MBA President, she appointed a task force to ensure that all laws impacted by that decision were changed.
- Crane worker injured when jib of crane pinned him to the boom. Third-party and worker's compensation settlements exceeded $1 million for this worker and his family.
- Electrocution cases. Recovered for an individual struck by lightning while working on top of a steel building during a thunderstorm. Also, recovered for an electrician injured when he touched a live wire on a construction site.
- Successfully brought a claim against a ski area when a teenager fell from a chairlift and broke her hip.
- Medical Malpractice Cases. Recovered for an individual when a doctor failed to see a growth on a routine x-ray of the client's knee. Recovered for the wrongful death of the mother of five children who did not receive proper medical treatment while a prisoner at MCI-Framingham.
- Award for a person injured in automobile collision who was subsequently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.
- Verdict in excess of insurance policy limits of $100,000.00 when no offer had been made in a rear-end collision resulting in a TMJ injury.
- Settlement of a closed-head injury/traumatic brain injury case for $900,000.00 when there was no evidence of head trauma.
- Resolution of injury aspect of case when a defective propane gas stove caused a sailboat to be destroyed completely.
- Recovered for an injured railroad worker when equipment he was operating was rear ended by a piece of equipment operated by a co-worker.
- Recovered for an individual who suffered a traumatic brain injury after being hit by a truck when the driver claimed he lost control because of a sudden medical emergency. Several law firms rejected this case. Attorney O'Donnell started suit and, through discovery, learned the driver had several prior collisions when he lost consciousness while driving.
- Since Massachusetts Courts changed the standard for recovering for falls on snow and ice Attorney O'Donnell has represented successfully several people injured because of falls on snow and ice.
Areas of Practice
- Personal Injury Litigation
- Construction Site Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Automobile Collisions
- Liquor Liability
- Premises Liability
- Falls on Snow and Ice
- Massachusetts, 1981
- U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts, 1982
- U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit, 1982
- Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts
- Wheaton College
- Doctor of Laws Honorary Degree, Wheaton College - 2007
- Presentation on Automobile Insurance, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, 1997
- Presentation on Automobile Insurance, National Conference of State Legislatures, 1998
- Auto Managed Care Forum, Institute for International Research, 1998
- Auto Managed Care Forum, Institute for International Research, 2000
- University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Center for Consumer Affairs: Auto Accident Compensation Project Auto Choice Policy Debate (Co Participants: Peter Kinzler and Daniel Miller), New Orleans, Louisiana, 1998
- Perspectives on Federal Auto Choice Reform Legislation (Co participants with: Peter Kinzler, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Joseph Libermann, U.S. Representative Dick Armey, U.S. Representative Jim Moran, Andrew Tobias, Michael Horowitz, Frank Clemente, J. Robert Hunter, Stephen Carroll, Michael Miller, Daniel Miller, Professor George Priest, and Professor Jerry O’Connell.), Washington, D.C., 1999
- Auto Insurance Reform Debate, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1999
- Presentation, Iowa Trial Lawyers, Annual Convention, 1997
- Presentation, National Association of Trial Lawyers Executives, Annual Legislative Conference, 1994 - 1998
- Presentation, Juror Bias in Low-Impact Collisions, Roscoe Pound Foundation, 2000
- Presentation, Different Approaches in Trying Low Impact Collisions Resulting in Connective Tissue Injuries, American Association of Justice; National College of Advocates, February 17, 2000
- Presented, The Lawyers' Perspective on Auto Insurance to Two Hundred and Fifty Insurance Executives; Newport Beach, California, Auto Insurance Report, National Conference, 2000
- Presentation, Juror Bias, Vermont Trial Lawyers, 2001
- Presentation, Rising Auto Insurance Costs, San Francisco, California, National Conference of Insurance Legislators, 2002
- Frequent Lecturer on Trial Skills, Insurance Issues and Recent Developments in The Law, American Association of Justice, Massachusetts Bar Association, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys
Honors and Awards
- Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers keynote speaker, annual dinner, 2006
- Boston Magazine Super Lawyer - recognized as a top personal injury lawyer every year, Also recognized as one of the 50 top women lawyers in New England and in Massachusetts, 2004 - 2014
- National Law Journal – named one of the twelve most influential lawyers in Massachusetts, 2000
- Greater Lowell Bar Association - Lawyer of the Year Award, 1992
- Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys - Distinguished Service Award, 1994
- American Association of Justice Service Award, 1996
- American Association of Justice Service Award, 1997
- Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, 1995
- Named One of The Top Ten Lawyers of The Year, 1997
- Named One of The Twenty-Five Most Influential Lawyers in Massachusetts, 1972
- Named One of The Twenty-Five Most Influential Lawyers in Massachusetts, 1997
- Essex County Bar Association - honored as one of leading woman lawyers in the state, 1997
- Supreme Judicial Court Appointment to Committee on Lawyer Advertising, 1997 - 1999
- The Committee Examining Mandatory Fee Arbitration, 2011 - 2012
- Who's Who in America, 2006 - 2013
- Who's Who in American Law, 2005 - 2013
- Who's Who of American Women, 2006 - 2013
- Who's Who in the East, 2006 - 2013
Pro Bono Activities
- Member of The Board of Directors, Greater Lowell Rape Crisis Services, 1990 - 1994
- Member of The Board of Directors, Greater Lowell Pastoral Counseling Services, 1989 - 1994
- Member, Sohier Park Committee, York, Maine, 1989 - 1993
- Chair, Sohier Park Committee, York, Maine, 1992 - 1993
- Board of Directors, Lowell Catholic High School, 1997 - 1999
- Board of Directors, Massachusetts Community Legal Education, 1998 - 2005