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Derek E. Donnelly

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Practice Areas

  • Municipal Law


Derek E. Donnelly is a resourceful and dynamic attorney with broad range of experience. Derek practices in the areas of Government Law, Insurance Subrogation, Insurance Coverage, Insurance Defense, Civil Litigation and Real Estate Law.

With a background in state and local government, Derek has continually proven himself in the field of municipal law. This, coupled with his extensive litigation experience, provides Derek with a unique knowledge base which helps him assist his municipal clients whether in the Courtroom or out of it. Derek has successfully litigated multiple matters for the Town governments, from tax appeals to complicated pension matters.

Derek has conducted several successful trials in both State and Federal Court. Derek has appeared before the U.S. District Court, the Connecticut Appellate Court, Connecticut Supreme Court and the United States Board of Indian Appeals. In 2010, Derek served as co-counsel for the defendant in the high-profile case Bysewicz v. DiNardo before the State Supreme Court. Derek serves as the town counsel for the Towns of Suffield and East Granby. He also represents a variety of corporate clients as their outside general counsel.

In addition to supporting municipalities, Derek assists private clients in disputes with state agencies and local governments. Last year, he garnered attention when he won a temporary injunction for a private client to allow 24-hour convenience stores to remain open after being closed by the City of Hartford.

Derek is the managing partner of Blackburn & Donnelly, LLC. He is the Chair of its Government Law and Real Estate departments and is a member of the Subrogation, Insurance Defense and Insurance Coverage departments. On the subrogation side, Derek has recovered millions of dollars over his career for insurance clients and has been named a Super Lawyers rising star in Insurance Law. Derek also maintains a vibrant real estate practice, conducting over 150 real estate closing per year.

Prior to practicing law, Derek served as the Legislative Director for the City of Hartford. In this role, Derek was responsible for the interplay between public policy and legislation at the municipal, state and federal level.

Derek received a B.A, in Political Science from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA (2002). He received his J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law (2006). Derek has completed additional graduate level coursework in Public Administration at Trinity College and has also studied at the University College of London.

Derek is admitted to practice in Connecticut and in the United States District Court- District of Connecticut. He has served on the Board of local community organizations including Educational Resources for Children Inc. and currently chairs the Advancement Committee of the Enfield Montessori School. He is a past member of the Town of Suffield Zoning Board of Appeals and Board of Finance. He resides in Suffield with his wife, Michaela, and two children.



  • University of Connecticut School of Law, Hartford, Connecticut
    • J.D. - 2006
  • James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia
    • B.S. - 2002