Mr. O’Donnell graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia in 1976, where he was a member of the Swimming and Diving Team and an Atlantic Coast Conference Honor Roll student athlete. After running a painting business and working nights at a large commercial bakery, he returned to the University of Virginia and received his law degree there in 1980. After law school, Neil served as a law clerk to the Virginia Supreme Court. A promised position with the Department of Interior Solicitor's Honors Program and a mountain climbing avocation led Mr. O'Donnell to Alaska.
Mr. O’Donnell has received the highest possible rankings for legal ability ("A" for high to preeminent) and ethical standards ("V" for very high) from Martindale-Hubbell a national peer-review organization. Mr. O’Donnell is also listed in Best Lawyers in America. Neil O'Donnell has also been selected as an Alaska Super Lawyer. Super Lawyers advises that "only five percent of the attorneys in the state are named to the list" and that selection is based on "peer recognition and professional achievement." Mr. O'Donnell is also a Proctor Member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, the highest and most distinguished level of membership in that organization.
Mr. O'Donnell obtained what is believed to be the largest automotive product liability verdict in the State of Alaska. After a three and a half-week trial, the jury awarded $7.7 million to a young woman who "submarined" under a defectively-designed lap belt in a head-on collision causing severe internal injuries and a broken back. Farnsworth v. General Motors. Mr. O'Donnell also obtained what is believed to be the largest automotive negligence verdict in the State of Alaska. After a three-week trial, the jury awarded a young man $7.6 million for back and leg injuries suffered in an intersection collision when his vehicle was hit by a pickup truck driven by an employee of an automobile dealership. T.Z. v. Nye Frontier Ford.
In 2015 Mr. O'Donnell received the honor of being one of the few Alaska attorneys inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. "The American College of Trial Lawyers, founded in 1950, recognizes the very best trial lawyers from the United States and Canada. The College’s Fellows are chosen strictly by invitation and only after a rigorous and lengthy investigation. The candidate must be identified as a highly skilled trial lawyer in the opinion of judges and practitioners, and as a person whose ethics, moral standards and collegiality are above reproach. Fellowship is limited to one percent of the lawyers in any individual State or Province, and the candidate must have practiced for at least 15 years." http://www.actl.com Qualified lawyers are called to Fellowship in the College from all branches of trial practice. They are selected from among advocates who represent plaintiffs or defendants in civil proceedings of all types, as well as prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers.
Mr. O'Donnell has been a member of the Virginia Bar since 1980 and the Alaska Bar since 1983. He is also a member of the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice (formerly the American Trial Lawyers Association), and the Alaska Academy of Trial Lawyers. Mr. O’Donnell is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in Alaska and Virginia, the Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. O'Donnell is an active member of several Alaska Bar Association committees including the Lawyer Fund for Client Protection. He is a past president of the Mountaineering Club of Alaska.
In addition to representing personal injury plaintiffs, Mr. O'Donnell is often hired by other attorneys to represent them in professional malpractice and other litigation. Mr. O'Donnell also represents individuals and small businesses in commercial and financial disputes.
When not in the office, Mr. O'Donnell likes to enjoy Alaska's great outdoors. Here are a few favorite photos.