FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Hon. James Donato

Hon. James Donato

United States District Court, Northern District of California
Magistrate Judge
San Francisco, CA, USA

For over 20 years, James Donato has represented clients in trials, arbitrations and other litigation matters throughout the United States. He is nationally recognized in Benchmark Litigation for expertise in antitrust matters and in The Legal 500 for expertise in litigation involving healthcare issues and companies. He has been recognized as a Northern California "Super Lawyer" every year since 2004.

Mr. Donato represents technology, Internet and manufacturing companies in matters involving antitrust, qui tam actions (False Claims Act), product liability and commercial disputes.  He has represented Covidien, LG Electronics, Agilent Technologies, United Continental, Gogo.com, and Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., among other leading companies. 

Mr. Donato also has a substantial privacy law practice. He represents Internet companies and equipment manufacturers in matters involving wiretapping, stored communications, computer fraud and abuse, and consumer privacy claims. 

Mr. Donato is an experienced class action lawyer. He has handled multiple class action matters and tried a federal class action case before a jury.  He was a featured speaker at the American Bar Association's 15th Annual National Institute on Class Actions on the topic of class action trials, and has published in the field. 

In the public sector, Mr. Donato served as a trial attorney in the San Francisco City Attorney's Office. As a deputy city attorney, Mr. Donato tried federal and state jury cases in actions ranging from alleged federal civil rights violations to negligence. He is also dedicated to pro bono service and has worked on matters ranging from a major public housing case before the United States Supreme Court to habeas petitions and civil rights cases.

Recent Representations and Experience

  Technology and manufacturing companies in antitrust cases for price fixing (cartels), monopolization, attempted monopolization, mergers and acquisitions, interlocking directorates, conspiracy, exclusive dealing and unfair competition.

  Internet and equipment manufacturers in privacy cases for wiretapping, stored communications, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, state privacy laws, and breach of privacy policies.

  Technology and manufacturing companies in class action cases.

  Companies in commercial cases for product liability, license disputes, trade secrets, business torts, breach of contract, false advertising, and unfair business practices.

  As trial counsel for companies in antitrust, class action and commercial litigation cases in federal and state courts throughout the United States and in private arbitrations.

Selected Professional Affiliations and Business Activities

  Court-Appointed federal mediator, U.S. District Court for Northern District of California
  Elected Member, American Law Institute
  Adviser, American Law Institute Restatement (Third) of Torts 
  Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  President, Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) 
  Co-Chair, BASF Civil Gideon Project
  Board member, Northern California Innocence Project
  President, Barristers Club of BASF
  Co-Chair, Food from the Bar Campaign for the San Francisco Food Bank (2011)
  Director, Berkeley Symphony
  College Preparatory School Fifty Forward Campaign
  Newman Hall Council

Selected Publications and Speaking Engagements

  ABA, The 15th Annual National Institute on Class Actions, New York, NY (2011)
  "The Role of Technology in Evidence Collection" (Aspatore Books, 2011)
  "Beikoku Class Action no Saishin Jitsumu" (Kokusai Shoji Homu, Vol. 39, No. 4 (2011))
  ABA, Antitrust Law Developments (Seventh Ed. 2012) (contributing writer)
  "Defending the Class Action Trial" (Daily Journal, 2010)
  "Section 17200: Reform Comes In From The Cold" (Association of Business Trial Lawyers Journal, 2005)


  The Honorable Procter R. Hug, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1988-1989


  Stanford Law School, J.D., 1988 -  Senior Editor, Stanford Law Review
  Harvard University, M.A., 1984, History
  U.C. Berkeley, B.A., 1983, History, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions / Qualifications

  The State Bar of California and The State Bar of Hawaii

Hon. James Donato is associated with the following items:
Live Seminar  Live Seminar Advanced Data Privacy, Cybersecurity Breach and TCPA Class Action Litigation Strategies and Defenses 2018, Friday, January 26, 2018, San Francisco, CA
Live Webcast  Live Webcast Advanced Data Privacy, Cybersecurity Breach and TCPA Class Action LItigation Strategies and Defenses 2018, Friday, January 26, 2018, San Francisco, CA

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