Chris Donnelly


Before retiring from the active practice of law in December 2022, I practiced family law since I joined LPS in 1990 as a newly graduated attorney associate at age thirty-four.  Before law school I was variously a structural steel construction worker, shipyard worker, and editor of a trade union monthly newspaper.

In the diversity context, my earliest and still primary background would be racial justice and civil rights.  Coming from a multi-racial family in a small town in the 1960s, racial prejudice meant people failing to recognize the humanity of my adopted Korean sisters.  My family was one of a few that hosted Black kids from Paterson, NJ in the summertime – one more at the dinner table when there were already eight or nine kids just added to the fun!  But not all the neighbors approved.

When Martin Luther King was assassinated in April 1968, my father took a handful of us kids to Newark, NJ, for a march billed as the Black/White Peace March. I was eleven years old.  Tens of thousands marched that day through the streets of Newark — and in that suffering city, during that troubled month, the peace blessedly held.

After I came West to San Francisco, my eyes began to open on issues surrounding sexual identity.  I am proud to say that today I am a godparent to a beautiful young woman who has two mothers.  On gender equality, I strove over the decades to make the LPS workplace a welcoming home for women, who should not have to stand for hostility, harassment, being belittled or patronized, from the grand scale to the micro, in order to earn a living.

I am a firm supporter of the Council on Islamic American Relations (SF Bay Area Chapter).

Personally, I have had beloved family members with disabilities – physical challenges and cognitive challenges both.  Nobody should ever dispute the humanity or diminish the potential of another based on disability. Finally, during my three-plus decades of practice, I always found support at LPS for my commitment to pro bono work, which over my career has spanned the gamut from representing near-indigent clients, to serving our profession in as a fee arbitrator in attorney-client fee disputes, training attorneys in representing low-income family law clients, and working with the local family law courts in various capacities, primarily assisting divorcing people in bringing their matters to settlement.