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Biography

Pierce O’Donnell is one of the most influential, accomplished, and sought after trial attorneys in the U.S., with groundbreaking success representing clients in closely watched matters across virtually every major industry and area of litigation. Pierce was lead counsel to Shelly Sterling in the litigation surrounding the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer.

A graduate of Georgetown University and both Georgetown and Yale Law Schools, Pierce’s legal career began with prestigious clerkships for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White and Ninth Circuit Judge Shirley M. Hufstedler. This early experience set him on a path that would always combine his passions for trying cases in the courtroom and for writing provocative articles and books outside of his law practice.

A Decorated Litigator

Pierce was named one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal, as one of "California's Top Entertainment Lawyers" by the Daily Journal, and "MVP of the Year" by Law360LawDragon has consistently named him one of the 500 leading lawyers in the nation. The Los Angeles Business Journal named him one of the 500 Most Influential People in Los Angeles (2016 - 2018). In 2014, the Daily Journal recognized Pierce as one of the "Top 100 Lawyers in California" and as a "Top Entertainment Lawyer in California."

He is a member of the elite International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American Law Institute, the American Board of Trial Lawyers, and the American Trial Lawyers Association. In addition, he is routinely named as one of the premier trial lawyers in his hometown of Los Angeles, California and in the U.S. by legal publications such as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, Chambers & Partners and the Daily Journal, and he has achieved the highest possible AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Forbes called him the “new Perry Mason in Hollywood.” Pierce's advocacy on behalf of children around the world earned him the prestigious Raoul Wallenberg Save the Children Award.

A Legendary Trial Lawyer

Over his 48-year legal career, Pierce has tried a long list of significant cases for major clients, such as the famed Buchwald v. Paramount Pictures case related to the movie “Coming to America,” litigation on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and the Metro Goldwyn Mayer v. American Honda case that recognized federal copyright protection for James Bond. In 2009, he led a team that secured the largest jury verdict in California ($350 million), making him Trial Lawyer of the Year. In addition to dozens of trials across the country, Pierce has argued more than 25 cases in federal and state appellate courts and handled more than 500 civil and white-collar criminal cases. Spotlighted by Variety as "The Billion Dollar Litigator," he has collected over $7 billion for clients in a variety of cases ranging from antitrust, divorce, entertainment, environmental cost recovery, intellectual property, and business litigation.

A Renowned Author and Speaker

A highly-respected thought leader in the legal profession, Pierce is also the author of more than 200 articles and five books. His scholarly articles have covered important legal topics such as constitutional law, intellectual property, toxic torts, sports, professional responsibility, and criminal justice reform, and they have been published in respected journals such as the American Bar Association Journal, Colorado Law Review, and Georgetown Law Journal.

Pierce has also published a number of highly-acclaimed books and other creative works. His articles have appeared in a number of publications, including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, Miami Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Denver Post. Pierce co-authored "Fatal Subtraction: How Hollywood Really Does Business," a best-selling account of his role in the Buchwald v. Paramount Pictures case, co-authored the screenplay for the feature film “Home Team” starring Steve Guttenberg, wrote a stage-play "Socrates on Trial", and authored a critically-acclaimed book regarding a forgotten episode of World War II, "In Time of War: Hitler’s Terrorist Attack on America."

A regular TV and radio commentator, Pierce has appeared on numerous programs on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX, PBS, NPR, and BBC. Pierce has lectured at the nation's premier law schools, including Harvard, Yale, UCLA, USC, Loyola (Los Angeles), Pepperdine, Stanford, and Georgetown. In a major address on international human rights, he was the first person to speak in the Rotunda of the Four Courts in Dublin, Ireland since Winston Churchill.

Professional Affiliations

  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • American Law Institute
  • American Trial Lawyers Association
  • Economic Roundtable of Los Angeles

Bar Admissions

  • California

Education

  • Yale Law School  (LL.M.)
  • Georgetown University  (J.D.)
  • Georgetown University  (B.A.)