Representative Matters

Edward Donohue is a business litigator who primarily represents business professionals, real estate, insurance and financial services companies. His professional liability clientele primarily consist of attorneys, realtors, insurance agents and brokers and investment professionals. His institutional clients include banks, credit unions, commercial and residential real estate brokers, property managers, syndicators and loan servicers, commercial insurance brokers and specialty lines insurers.

Mr. Donohue represents his clientele in a wide variety of matters, including employment disputes, real estate and investment sales practices disputes, bankruptcy, lender liability litigation and complex employee, landlord-tenant, consumer and investor class action litigation.

Mr. Donohue has represented clients in licensing, disciplinary and other regulatory proceedings before the California Bureau of Real Estate, the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, the State Bar of California, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the California Department of Corporations. Mr. Donohue provides representation before self-regulatory bodies such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), National Futures Association and the Board of Certified Planners.

Mr. Donohue has published extensively on professional liability risks. He is a co-author of "The Lawyers Desk Guide to Preventing Legal Malpractice," which was published in 1999 by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability. He is also a co-author of "Insurance Agency Risk Management: E&O Exposure By Lines of Business," published in 2015 by Thomson Reuters.

Mr. Donohue has represented a variety of businesses in the litigation and trial of industrial accident and other serious injury and death cases.

Professional Background

Mr. Donohue joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in July 2009. Mr. Donohue has over twenty-five years of experience representing professionals, real estate firms, financial institutions and businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Professional Affiliations

  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Legal Malpractice Section
  • State Bar of California, Real Property Law Section
  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance, Professional Liability Section
  • San Francisco Bank Attorneys Association

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized as a "Super Lawyer" by Northern California Super Lawyers magazine
  • Holds the AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability

Representative Matters

  • Cholakian Associates v. Superior Court, 236 Cal. App. 4th 361 (2015). Successful appeal in legal malpractice case based on alleged negligence leading to $34.9 Million verdict. Trial court decision denying dismissal reversed based on failure to apply so-called "home county rule" defense.
  • FDIC as Receiver of County Bank v. BancInsure Inc., 2014 WL 1366201 (E.D. Cal. 2014). Successful defense of bad faith action based on $49 million FDIC professional liability judgment against bank officers for alleged negligent commercial real estate lending practices. 
  • Chao Fu, Inc. v. Chen, 206 Cal App 4th 48 (2012). Successful prosecution and appeal of real property owner's wrongful collection and foreclosure action against commercial real estate lender.
  • Digital Video Systems, Inc v. Sun, 2011 WL 1134662 (Cal App 2011). Trial and appeal of employment liability case based on misappropriation of trade secrets and business opportunities. Effort to recover fees against employer under employment agreement rejected.
  • Oliveira v. Jackson National Life Insurance Company, 2011 WL 1869849 (FINRA) May 3, 2011. Successful defense of investment suitability case against broker-dealer and investment advisor representative arising out of acquisition of variable life insurance policies.
  • Matsumoto v. Capital Financial Services, Inc., 2010 WL 5552421 (FINRA) December 29, 2010. Successful defense of registered representative in investment suitability claim arising out of alleged elder abuse in management of investment portfolio during market crash of March 2009.
  • Hilsenrath v. Nixon Peabody LLP,  2009 WL 3527410 (Cal. App. 2009). Successful prosecution through appeal of anti-SLAPP motion resulting in dismissal of legal malpractice case.
  • Tolentino v. Mossman, 2007 WL 440447 (E.D. Cal. 2007). Successful defense of real estate fraud against real estate agents and syndicators. Court rejected claim that direct real estate purchases supported investment securities fraud liability.
  • Larson v. Spetjens, 2006 WL 3365589 (N.D. Cal. 2006). Legal malpractice case dismissed based on ruling that arbitration clause in fee agreement applied to non-client third party beneficiaries.
  • American Land Title Association v. Great American Ins. Co., 2006 WL 1329782 (N.D. Cal. 2006). Successful defense of suit brought by national trade association of title insurers against companies engaged in sale of mortgage impairment insurance.
  • Far East National Bank v. United Commercial Bank, "Jury Verdicts Weekly," January 16, 2003. Litigation between successive lenders on import-export credit lines secured counterfeit air waybills. Jury returned $9 million verdict for client-successor bank.
  • Spear v. Wells Fargo Bank, 130 F.3d 857 (9th Cir. 1997). First high court decision recognizing that financial institutions could assert in pari materia defense against successor bankruptcy trustees suing bank based on customer insider fraud. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the bank had no legal obligation under Section 3419 of the Commercial Code to investigate embezzlement of corporate receivable checks by dishonest insiders.
  • Burnstein v. Self, 110 F.3d 67 (9th Cir. 1997). Legal malpractice case in which court ruled that, defrauded investors could not sue securities counsel based on failure "blow the whistle" on client's alleged fraudulent real estate mortgage sales practices.
  • Robertson v. Peters, 5 F.3d 417 (9th Cir. 1993). Landmark decision successfully challenging bankruptcy trustee's "strong arm" powers under Section 544 of the Bankruptcy Code. U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, overruled as discriminatory and contrary to public policy standing 92-year-old precedent that a female spouse is deemed to dwell in family residence "at the pleasure" of her husband so as to negate constructive notice of wife's interest.


Mr. Donohue frequently speaks to organizations and clients on a number of topics. His presentations include:

  • "The Impact of Cyber Attacks and Data Breach on Professionals," The Claims Litigation Management Alliance National Conference, March 2018

  • "The State of the Lawyer's Insurance Market 2018," The Legal Malpractice and Risk Management Conference, March 2018

  • "Crisis Management – Sword or Shield," The ABA National Legal Malpractice Conference, April 2017

  • "The Lawyer's Insurance Market 2017," The Legal Malpractice and Risk Management Conference, March 2017

  • "Attorney-Client Privilege in House Counsel Environment," at the Twenty-Sixth Annual Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC) General Counsel Seminar July 22, 2015
  • "The Insurance Lawyer as Guardian of Client Privileges," ABA National Legal Malpractice Conference, April 2015
  • "Insurance Coverage—How a Bank Failure Affects Insurance Coverage," Claims and Litigation Management Alliance Annual Conference, April 2013
  • "Caught in the Cross Fire: Liability Traps for Bank Counsel," San Francisco Bank Attorneys Association Luncheon, November 2012
  • "Bad Judgments or Bad Times?—Litigation and Enforcement Actions After a Bank Failure," San Francisco Bank Attorneys Association Luncheon, August 2012
  • "How a Bank Failure Affects Insurance Coverage," ABA Fidelity and Surety Law Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, November 2011
  • "Detective or Advisor—The Attorney-Client Privilege in Coverage Evaluations," Fidelity Law Association Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 2007
  • "Informed Consent in Attorney-Client Relations," National Legal Malpractice Conference, Washington, D.C., April 2007
  • "An Historical Overview of the Federal Bank Crime Laws," and "Financial Institution Attorneys as Gatekeepers," California Bankers Association Bank Counsel Meeting, Dana Point, California, March 2007
  • "Bank Liability Insurance Update—Contemporary Issues for Bank Attorneys," San Francisco Bank Attorneys Association, February 2001


Mr. Donohue has published extensively on the professional liability risks of accountants, attorneys and financial planners. His publications include:

  • "Insurance Agency Risk Management: E&O Exposures By Lines of Business," Chapter 11, Health and Life Insurance, Thomson Reuters, 2015.
  • "The Insurance Lawyer as Guardian of Client Privileges," paper, National Legal Malpractice Conference, April 2015.
  • "How a Bank Failure Affects Insurance Coverage," Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal. Vol. 47, Issue 2, Winter 2012.
  • "Detective or Advisor—The Attorney-Client Privilege in Coverage Evaluations," paper, The Fidelity Law Journal, Volume XI, October 2005.
  • "Informed Consent in Attorney-Client Relations," paper, National Legal Malpractice Conference, April 2007.
  • "An Historical Overview of the Federal Bank Crime Laws," paper, California Bankers Association Bank Counsel Meeting, March 2007.
  • "Financial Institution Attorneys as Gatekeepers," paper, California Bankers Association Bank Counsel Meeting, March 2007.
  • "Customer Margin and Deficit Balance Disputes," author, The View, January 2002.
  • "Complying with Expedited Funds Availability," author, Kentucky Banker Magazine, December 2001.
  • "The Lawyer’s Desk Guide to Preventing Legal Malpractice," co-author, American Bar Association, Standing Committee on Professional Liability, 1999.


Mr. Donohue was born in Staten Island, New York.

Community/Civic Activities

Mr. Donohue is active in coaching youth soccer and CYO basketball.

J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1981

  • Associate Editor, American Criminal Law Review

B.A., magna cum laude, Political Science, Fordham University, 1978