Judge James Donato | Trellis

The Honorable James Donato

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Department 11

Biography

The Hon. James Donato is a district judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He was nominated to the bench by former President Barack Obama on June 20, 2013, filling a vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. James Ware.

Donato earned a B.A. in history from the University of California, Berkeley in 1983 as well as an A.M. in history from Harvard University in 1984. He then completed a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1988.

He began his legal career as a law clerk for the Hon. Procter Ralph Hug, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1988. After his clerkship concluded, he accepted a position as an associate at Morrison & Foerster. He practiced there for three years, eventually leaving to serve as a deputy city attorney in the Office of the City Attorney of San Francisco.

Donato returned to the private sector in 1996. He first joined Cooley LLP as a partner in 1996. Then, in 2009, he became a litigation partner at Shearman & Sterling. During his tenure in private practice, he specialized in antitrust litigation and class action lawsuits.

His memberships have included the Hawaii Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the American Bar Foundation, the American Law Institute, the California Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association. He has served as president of the Bar Association of San Francisco as well as director of the Berkeley Symphony. He has also served on the advisory board of the Northern California Innocence Project.

Donato was a recipient of the Award of Merit from the Bar Association of San Francisco in 2012.

He was born in Pasadena, California.

Education

J.D. from Stanford Law School (1988)

A.M. from Harvard University (1984) (History)

B.A. from University of California, Berkeley (1983) (History)

Career

Partner at Shearman & Sterling in San Francisco County, California (2009 to 2014)

Partner at Cooley LLP in San Francisco County, California (1996 to 2009)

Deputy City Attorney at Office of the City Attorney of San Francisco in San Francisco County, California (1993 to 1996)

Associate at Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco County, California (1990 to 1993)

Law Clerk at United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with the Hon. Procter Ralph Hug, Jr. (1988 to 1989)

Recent Rulings by Hon James Donato

  • RUTH COOPER V. CERTAIN UNDERWRITERS AT LLOYDS

    Mar 30, 2018 | 

    RUTH ANN assignees the class QHL Holdi Limited L State TD Limited L SOBEL, as members o investors a Califor Golden St Californi v. CERTAIN U LLOYD'S, Syndicate Contract Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California Fernando M. Olguin, District Judge, Presiding Argued a...

  • UNITED STATES V. RAMON URBINA

    Mar 6, 2018 | 

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RAMON URBINA, Defendant-Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of California Larry Alan Burns, District Judge, Presiding Submitted February 15, 2018** Pasadena, California Before: MCKEOWN and WARDLAW, Circuit Judges...

  • UNITED STATES V. ROBERT AGUILAR

    Mar 6, 2018 | 

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ROBERT AGUILAR, AKA Gangster, Defendant-Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of California Roger T. Benitez, District Judge, Presiding Argued and Submitted February 15, 2018 Pasadena, California Before: McKEOWN an...

  • NELSON YUDINI GUADRON V. JEFFERSON SESSIONS

    Mar 5, 2018 | 

    NELSON YUDINI GUADRON, Petitioner, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Submitted February 14, 2018** Pasadena, California Before: McKEOWN and WARDLAW, Circuit Judges, and DONATO,*** District Judge. Nelson Yudini ...

  • UNITED STATES V. JESUS GARCIA

    Feb 27, 2018 | 

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JESUS GARCIA, AKA Chuy, AKA Jesus Garza Garcia, Defendant-Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California Andre Birotte, Jr., District Judge, Presiding Argued and Submitted February 15, 2018 Pasadena, California...

  • EMEKA NDIGWE V. ALLSTATE INDEMNITY CO.

    Oct 17, 2017 | 

    EMEKA NDIGWE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. ALLSTATE INDEMNITY COMPANY, ERRONEOUSLY SUED AS ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California Fernando M. Olguin, District Judge Argued and Submitted May 12, 2017 Submission Vacated J...

  • UNITED STATES V. ANDRE FRANKLIN

    Jun 29, 2017 | 

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ANDRE FRANKLIN, Defendant-Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California Dale S. Fischer, District Judge, Presiding Argued and Submitted May 11, 2017 Pasadena, California Before: PREGERSON and FRIEDLAND, Circui...

  • UNITED STATES V. ROBERT COTA, JR.

    May 31, 2017 | 

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ROBERT COTA, Jr., Defendant-Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of California William Q. Hayes, District Judge, Presiding Argued and Submitted May 11, 2017 Pasadena, California Before: PREGERSON and FRIEDLAND, Ci...

  • J. H. V. RIVERSIDE CNTY OFFICE OF EDUC.

    May 25, 2017 | 

    J.H., a minor, by and through his Guardian Ad Litem, Leticia Neal, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RIVERSIDE COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION, A Local Educational Agency, Defendant-Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California Michael W. Fitzgerald, District Judge, Presidi...

  • KEVIN DO V. FIRST FINANCIAL SECURITY

    May 25, 2017 | 

    KEVIN DO; LUE LEE; TATA INSIXIENGMAY-TRAN; POLLY LUANGAPHAY, on behalf of themselves and all similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. FIRST FINANCIAL SECURITY, INC., Defendant-Appellee. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California Stephen V. Wilson, District Judg...

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