Kathleen Donelli

  • Adjunct Professor


MAT, Manhattanville College
JD, Pace Law School , cum laude

Kathleen Donelli is a partner of the law firm of McCarthy Fingar, L.L.P. in White Plains, N.Y. and concentrates her practice in matrimonial law.  Ms. Donelli is the recipient of the 2014 New York State Bar Association Ruth Schapiro Award for promoting women in the legal profession.  Ms. Donelli worked with the Hon. Sondra Miller to draft and promote the "No Fault" divorce bill which was enacted into law in October, 2010.  In 2010, Ms. Donelli received the "Leading Matrimonial Attorney" Above the Bar Award.  She is also a trained mediator and collaborative lawyer.  Ms. Donelli is an Adjunct Law Professor at Pace Law School, teaching Collaborative Law and is the Vice Chair of its Board of Visitors.  She is a graduate of Pace Law School ('85, cum laude) where she was the Articles Editor of the Pace Law School Law Review.  In 2005, Ms. Donelli received the Alumni Leadership Award from Pace University School of Law.  She is currently listed as a Super Lawyer in Thomas Reuter's annual list of top family law attorneys in the N.Y. Metro area.

Ms. Donelli is a former President of the Westchester Women's Bar Association ("WWBA") (2003-2005) and of the White Plains Bar Association (1998-2000).  She is the Co-Chair of the WWBA's and WBASNY's Collaborative Law Committees and has been the Co-Chair of the WWBA's Judicial Screening Committee, Corresponding Secretary and Program Co-Chair.  Ms. Donelli is a member of the Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District and the former Co-Chair of the Westchester County Bar Association ("WCBA") Grievance Committee.  She is a member of the Matrimonial Advisory Committee, which is chaired by the Hon. Sharon Townsend, J.S.C.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.  Ms. Donelli has also served on Judicial Screening Committees for White Plains City Court Judges and the Search Committee for the Dean of Pace Law School.

Ms. Donelli is also active in community-related organizations, as the former Vice President of the YWCA of White Plains and Central Westchester ("YWCA") (1992-2002) and the former President of the board of directors of St. Bernard's Center For Learning, Inc., a Head Start program for homeless children.  Ms. Donelli received a Recognition Award from the YWCA in 2004, when she was inducted into the YWCA's Hall of Fame.

In the area of matrimonial law, Ms. Donelli won a landmark Court of Appeals custody decision, Tropea, 87 N.Y.2d 727 (1996), which established a new rule in New York for custodial parents who seek to relocate.  Ms. Donelli's additional reported cases in the area of matrimonial law include:  Seruya v. Seruya, 107 A.D.3d 972 (2d Dep't. 2013); Amari v. Molloy, 293 A.D.2d 431 (2d Dep’t 2002); Amari v. Molloy, 8/8/00 N.Y.L.J., page 23, col. 5; Amari v. Molloy, 180 Misc.2d 664 (Kings Co. 1999); Frayne v. Frayne, 234 A.D.2d 545 (2d Dep't 1996).

In the area of commercial litigation, Ms. Donelli's reported cases include:  Jaffer v. Miles, 134 A.D.2d 572 (2d Dep't 1987); 1185 Avenue of the Americas Associates v. The Resolution Trust Corp., 22 F.3d 494 (2d Cir. 1994); Route 22 Associates v. Cipes, 204 A.D.2d 705 (2d Dep’t 1994).

Ms. Donelli has lectured on Ethics and Professionalism, Matrimonial Law and Collaborative Law at the Judicial Institute, Office of Court Administration, Pace Law School, St. John's Law School, Hofstra Law School, WCBA, WWBA and the NYSBA and on other topics involving matrimonial law, custody and land use for community groups, as well as on television and radio.

Ms. Donelli published articles include, "Dirks v. SEC:  New Guidelines for Tippee Liability Under Rule 10b-5," 4 Pace Law Review 631 (1984) and "The Constitutionality of New York's Grandparent Visitation Statute in Light of Troxel v. Granville," 27 Westchester Bar Journal 19 (2000).