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Salem lawyer nominated for NH's top court

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 20. 2018 11:07PM

CONCORD — A former state prosecutor and Salem lawyer is Gov. Chris Sununu’s nominee to be an associate justice on the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Patrick E. Donovan, 53, has run his own local law firm since 2008 dealing in civil and criminal work in state and federal courts.

Donovan worked several years in the Attorney General’s office; prior to that he was legal counsel to the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Sununu said Donovan’s varied experience made him the best choice among a list of qualified candidates from the Judicial Selection Commission.

“As a longtime litigator with a sterling reputation, Patrick has excelled in his representation of both public and private clients before all levels of New Hampshire’s court system,” Sununu said in a statement.

“With a trial record that includes major civil and criminal cases, his diverse experience in the law will enable him to bring a well-rounded perspective to the important issues that the court will take up in the coming years.”

Sununu’s nomination will be made official at today’s Executive Council meeting.

Earlier this month, the council confirmed Sununu’s pick of Associate Justice Robert Lynn of Windham to become the new chief justice on the five-person court.

If confirmed, Donovan will fill the vacancy to be left by Linda Dalianis of Nashua, the court’s current chief justice.

Dalianis has announced she would retire April 1. She would reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 in October.

“During the past 18 years of my 28-year legal career, I have had the privilege of representing hundreds of New Hampshire citizens and small businesses in private practice,” Donovan said of his nomination.

“The prospect of now returning to public service and sitting on our state’s highest court where I can serve all of the citizens of New Hampshire is humbling and exciting. If confirmed, I promise to serve our great state by upholding the rule of law and honoring the intent of our Legislature with energy and integrity.”

Sununu said he hoped the council would vote on Donovan’s nomination at its April 11 meeting.

Donovan worked first as an assistant and later as a senior assistant attorney general under former AG and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

“I had the privilege of working with Pat Donovan at the Attorney General’s office prosecuting very difficult and complex murder cases,” Ayotte said in a statement. “He is an excellent attorney, top notch litigator, and man of integrity who cares deeply about ensuring that our justice system operates fairly.”

An undergraduate of Dartmouth College, Donovan got his law degree from Boston College Law School in 1990.

He was with the AG’s office from 1994 to 2000.

Donovan’s volunteer work has included serving on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem and as the longtime chairman of the board of St. Joseph’s Regional Catholic School.

Editor's Note: A correction has been made to Justice Lynn's home town.



Courts Salem State Government

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