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Serving Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Mr. Michael L. Donner's Profile Image

Mr. Michael L. Donner

Phone: 804-377-1267
Fax: 804-377-1287

Mr. Donner is an experienced trial attorney who specializes in business and commercial litigation, fiduciary litigation, domestic relations litigation, employment litigation, criminal defense, and maritime law. He focuses his commercial and employment litigation in the areas of Title VII, state law wrongful discharge actions, trade secrets litigation and business conspiracy actions. He focuses his domestic practice in the area of complex equitable distribution issues, custody, visitation and support. He has years of experience in criminal defense, including defending the most serious felonies.

Mr. Donner’s experience extends from the civilian arena to maritime law. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1983, he entered the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program. During his 10-year tenure with the Navy, he was assigned to three submarines: USS Henry Clay (as an Engineer), USS Sam Rayburn (as an Engineer), and USS Finback (as a Navigator). Mr. Donner earned a Master’s Degree in National Security Affairs, with Distinction, from the Naval Postgraduate School in California, where his concentration was strategic nuclear planning. While attending law school classes at night (George Mason University School of Law), Mr. Donner worked during the day for the Defense Mapping Agency (now, the national Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency) as a Navigation Scientist. He clerked for Federal Magistrate Judge Tommy Miller.

Mr. Donner moved home to Richmond, his birthplace, in 2011 with his wife – they spend their free time trying to keep pace with their four children and eight grandchildren.


Represented an out-of-state investor in a derivative stockholders’ action in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia and 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Represented an out-of-state investor in a corporate appraisal right action in the Richmond Circuit Court.

Represented Marine Salvage Company in Abandoned Shipwrecks Act action in the Eastern District of Michigan, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court.

Represented a manufacturer/supplier in government contracting and licensing litigation in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Represented Virginia LLC in conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty litigation.

Represented criminal defendants throughout Virginia on charges ranging from minor misdemeanors and traffic offenses to murder.

Represented several different clients in fiduciary litigation, including construing and/or setting aside Trusts and Wills.

Represented construction companies in mechanic’s lien litigation and other types of construction litigation and arbitration.

Represented federal prisoners in a habeas corpus actions in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia and 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Represented several state prisoners in state habeas petitions throughout Virginia.

Represented several clients throughout Virginia in numerous Domestic Relations matters.



George Mason University School of Law, 1996, JD, With High Honors

– Ranked 9th in Class (3.47 GPA on 4.0 scale)

– Law Review

– Awarded Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Award

Naval Postgraduate School, 1991, MA, National Security Affairs

– Graduated with Distinction (3.91 GPA on 4.0 scale)

United States Naval Academy, 1983, BS, Chemistry



United States Supreme Court

6th Circuit Court of Appeals

4th Circuit Court of Appeals

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia

Virginia Supreme Court and all Virginia State Courts


Virginia State Bar

Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Association


“Anatomy and Defense of a Serious Truck Accident” Panel Discussion and Mock Trial, Virginia Trucking Association, Annual Safety Council Meeting, Staunton, Virginia, April 2017

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