Photo of Odessa Donnell

Odessa Donnell

Current Employment Position

  • Partner

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Practice Areas:

  • Family Law Actions
  • Complex Community Property Issues
  • Child and Spousal Support
  • Custody Disputes
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation
  • Premarital and Pre-Divorce Counseling
  • Domestic Violence
2023 10 BEST Female Attorney | Client Satisfaction | American Institute of Family Law Attorneys Badge
Odessa L. Donnell
Rated by Super Lawyers


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American Institute of Trial Lawyers - Litigator of the Year 2023

Biography

Ms. Donnell is a Partner at Christy, Keith & Donnell Family Law Group and is a Certified Family Law Specialist, certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. Prior to joining Christy, Keith & Donnell Family Law Group, she was a Partner with the San Francisco-based family law firm of Winter & Ross. Ms. Donnell obtained her law degree from U.C. Berkeley (Berkeley Law) and her bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, from UCLA. She has also completed Harvard Law School's Executive Program on Negotiation and Leadership.

Ms. Donnell has received numerous awards recognizing her legal acumen and contributions to the law. She was named Litigator of the Year by the American Institute of Trial Lawyers in 2023, designated one of the 10 Best Attorneys in Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys in 2023, named a Northern California Rising Star by Thomson Reuters SuperLawyers' Magazine in 2019 and 2020, received the America's Most Honored Professionals Award each year from 2020 through 2023, and included by San Francisco Magazine in their list of Top Young Rising Women Attorneys in Northern California in 2019 and 2020 and Top Young Rising Attorneys in Northern California in 2020.

While in law school, Ms. Donnell studied family law under esteemed Professor Herma Hill Kay, who co-authored California's no-fault divorce legislation. She was also an editor of the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice and a member of the Boalt Hall Women's Association as well as the Berkeley Youth & Education Law Society. She also served as a Judicial Extern for Judge Carlos Bea on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, clerked for the international law firm of Jones Day, and was a recipient of the Boalt Hall Fellowship for her work in public interest law.

Ms. Donnell represents clients throughout the Bay Area and specializes in all aspects of family law, including complex community property issues, separate property claims, child and spousal support matters, high conflict custody disputes, domestic violence issues, and post-judgment custody and support modification proceedings. She has extensive experience with the complicated financial aspects of divorce, including apportionment of stock options and RSUs, equitable apportionment of business interests, and tracing of separate property claims. When needed for a particular case, she utilizes her extensive contacts with leading professionals throughout California, such as forensic accountants, financial advisors, business valuation experts, co-parent counselors, and the like. She successfully settles the majority of cases. However, she will not hesitate to litigate her clients' matters in court when necessary. Ms. Donnell regularly appears before public and private judges throughout the Bay Area and has established a stellar reputation in the family law community as a skilled litigator and unwavering advocate for her clients.

Ms. Donnell is also committed to Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods when feasible. She holds a certificate in Mediation and Conflict Resolution and represents clients through the collaborative law process as well as provides consulting services to individuals in mediation. In addition, she is available to serve as a neutral mediator to facilitate the resolution of disputes between parties outside of litigation. Where strategic premarital or pre-divorce legal counseling is needed, her advice is invaluable to her clients.

Ms. Donnell is committed to giving back to the community and has served as a volunteer attorney and mediator for the Marin and San Francisco Superior Courts.

Ms. Donnell resides in the East Bay with her husband and two children. A Bay Area native, when she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her extended network of family and friends as well as traveling, skiing, and volunteering at her children's schools.

Education

  • University of California, Berkeley, Continuing Education in Law Program, Berkeley, California
    • Certificate in Mediation and Conflict Resolution – 2018
  • Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    • Program on Negotiation and Leadership – 2017
  • University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (“Berkeley Law”), Berkeley, California
    • J.D. – 2010
  • University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
    • B.A., summa cum laude – 2002

Bar Admissions

  • California

Honors

  • Northern California Rising Star, Super Lawyers Magazine 2019, 2020
  • University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall Fellow
  • University of California, Los Angeles, Provost’s Honors List; Highest Latin Honors “Summa Cum Laude”

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Certified Family Law Specialist, State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization

Professional Associations

  • Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (“ACFLS”)
  • California Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • San Francisco County Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • UCLA Alumni Association
  • Berkeley Law Alumni Association

Past Positions

  • Winter & Ross, San Francisco, California, Partner
  • Winter & Ross, San Francisco, California, Associate
  • 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, San Francisco, California, Judicial Extern
  • Jones Day, San Francisco, California, Law Clerk
  • Blacker, Sammis & Blacker, San Francisco, California, Law Clerk
  • Marin County Public Defender’s Office, San Rafael, California, Intern

Volunteer Work

  • Marin County Superior Court, Volunteer Attorney, Pro Per Calendar
  • San Francisco Superior Court, Volunteer Attorney
  • East Bay Community Law Center, Expungement Clinic, Volunteer Attorney
  • Alameda County Juvenile Hall, Volunteer Legal Rights Teacher