Donnelly, Christopher J.

Christopher J. Donnelly


(415) 957-1800

(415) 974-1520

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Christopher J. Donnelly is the head of the firm’s Family Law Practice Group. He devotes his practice exclusively to family law at all levels, from premarital and post-marital agreements to complex settlement negotiations, financial analysis, and pretrial, trial, and post-judgment representation.

Chris has been rated AV by Martindale Hubble since his first rating, and is currently honored as a Martindale Hubble AV Preeminent Attorney. He has been honored as one of Ten Leaders in Matrimonial and Divorce Law in San Francisco, California. He has been distinguished as a Northern California Super Lawyer in family law every year since that program’s inception in 2004.

Chris graduated from San Francisco State University (B.A., magna cum laude, 1981) and the University of California, Berkeley Law (J.D., 1990), where he served as co-editor-in-chief of the Industrial Relations Law Journal, 1989-1990. He is the author of Broadening the Definition of Income in the Context of Spousal Support Litigation, 15 Family Law News, No. 4., and In re Marriage of Ilas (Appropriate Economic Analysis) , California Family Law Monthly (April 1993), and with co-author Carroll J. Collins, Esq., Witnesses Tell the Story, 21 ABA Family Advocate 22. He has presented accredited Continuing Legal Education programs for family law attorneys on the subjects of business valuation, discovery, substantive California family law, trial practice, and motion practice.

Chris served as the legislative liaison for the State Bar of California Family Law Section Standing Committee on Property, North, which he chaired from 1994 to 1996. In 1997 he was appointed to the California State Bar’s Family Law Section Executive Committee by the State Bar’s Board of Governors. In 1999 he served as the editor of The Family Law News. In 2003 and 2004 Chris served as Chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Family Law Section.

Chris provides pro bono services as a family law attorney mentor and MCLE presenter for the Justice and Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco.  He has been trained as and serves as a California Business and Professions Code attorney fee dispute arbitrator, in conjunction with the Bar Association of San Francisco. He has provided private mediation services dealing with complex family law matters, and serves regularly as a settlement master for the Superior Courts of San Francisco and Marin counties.

Practice Areas

Family Law

Litigation Percentage

20% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

California, 1990


University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, Berkeley, California, 1990

Law Journal:
Industrial Relations Law Journal, Co-Editor-in-Chief, 1989 – 1990

San Francisco State University, 1981
Honors: Magna Cum Laude

Honors and Awards

“AV Preeminent” Rated by Martindale Hubble

One of Ten Leaders in Matrimonial and Divorce Law in San Francisco, California

Northern California Super Lawyer, annual recognition 2004 through 2022

Professional Associations and Memberships

State Bar of California, Family Law Section, 1994 – 1996
Chair, Legislative Liaison, Standing Committee

California State Bar’s Family Law Section
Executive Committee, 1997-2000

San Francisco Bar Association, Family Law Section
Chair, 2004-2006

Pro Bono Activities / Community Involvement

Family Law Attorney Mentor, Volunteer Legal Services Program in San Francisco

Arbitrator, Bar Association of San Francisco

Settlement Master, San Francisco Superior Court, Unified Family Court

Bench/Bar Panelist, Marin Superior Court

Select direct representations of indigent family law clients.

Broadening the Definition of Income in the Context of Spousal Support Litigation, 15 Family Law News, No. 4.

In re Marriage of Ilas (Appropriate Economic Analysis), California Family Law Monthly, April, 1993

Witnesses Tell the Story, (Co-Author with Carroll J. Collins, Esq.), 21 ABA Family Advocate 22

Editor, Family Law News, 1999