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Paul McDonald is a shareholder, the chair of the Litigation Practice Group and member of the Business Law Practice Group. Paul concentrates his practice in complex commercial and business litigation matters. He has tried cases to judges, juries, administrative appeal panels and arbitrators in Maine and across the country. Paul is recognized as a leading commercial litigator by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers, and is rated AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell. As Chambers USA put it in its 2009 Edition of America’s Leading Business Lawyers, “His effectiveness in court is due to his careful preparation, thorough due diligence and presentation skills.” Chambers USA’s 2014 edition notes that Paul “is described by market sources as ‘an extremely smart and capable litigator.’ Interviewees also cite McDonald’s courtroom skill, noting that ‘he adapts very well to what is going on in the trial.’”
Paul is a frequent presenter at legal and business seminars and is the co-author of a Bernstein Shur’s monthly Commercial and Business Litigation Newsletter. In 2010, Paul was awarded the Vincent L. McKusick Award by the Maine State Bar Association, which honors the author of the best article published in the Maine Bar Journal that year, for his article entitled Recovery of Lost Profits Damages; All Is Not Lost.
Areas of Specialization
A seasoned and versatile litigator, Paul has handled a wide variety of commercial and business litigation matters in his 25 years of practice. His areas of specialization include the following:
Corporate and Partnership Litigation. Paul has a keen understanding of corporate and partnership law. He has litigated numerous disputes between corporations and their shareholders, officers and directors, limited liability companies and their managers, officers and members, as well as partnerships and their partners. These cases typically involve corporate governance, business judgment and fiduciary duty issues, but also often include employment termination, covenants-not-to-compete and other contract issues.
Securities Litigation. Paul has both recovered and defended against claims made under the anti-fraud provisions of state and federal securities laws. Paul has litigated securities cases in state and federal courts as well as AAA, NASD and FINRA arbitrations.
Agency and Administrative Appeals. Paul represents private parties in appeals of decisions by local and state legislative and administrative bodies, including appeals of state procurement contract awards pursuant to RFPs.
Copyright and Trademark Litigation. Paul has successfully handled preliminary injunctions and accompanying litigation involving claims of trademark, trade dress and copyright infringement.
Wireless Telecommunications Facility Siting Litigation. Paul brought the very first action in the State of Maine alleging violations of the Federal Telecommunications Act wireless facility siting provisions. Paul continues to represent telecommunications facility providers as well as municipalities in TCA cell tower siting litigation.
“Top Hat” Deferred Compensation Plan Litigation. Paul has handled several cases in which he successfully challenged a chapter 11 bankruptcy debtor’s claim that its employee deferred compensation plan constituted a “top hat plan,” which was therefore exempt from ERISA’s substantive protections, and thus could be included in the bankruptcy estate for distribution to general creditors. In each of these cases, Paul achieved favorable settlements on behalf of plan participants and their beneficiaries, which resulted in the return of substantial portions of their respective plan account balances.
Paul represents both plaintiffs and defendants. Some of his notable successes in which he has acted as lead (or co-lead) counsel include:
Paul started his career at Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler in New York. He then practiced as an associate at Drinker, Biddle & Reath in Philadelphia. Paul later became an associate and then a shareholder at Hangley Connelly, now Hangley Aronchick, in Philadelphia. He has been a shareholder at Bernstein Shur for 10 years.
Paul and his wife Kelly have five children, one grandchild and live in Cape Elizabeth. Paul and his family spend as much time as possible together in the Maine outdoors, where they love to ski, hike and swim. Paul is active in his church and in the community. He is a former member of the Muskie Access to Justice Award Dinner Committee and member of the board and secretary of the Wayside Soup Kitchen and the board of Easter Seals Maine. Paul is a former high school cross country runner and wrestler and a college and men’s club rugby player. These days, he confines his organized athletic activities to watching his children’s games/events.
Paul is a frequent presenter at legal and business seminars. Recent presentations include:
Corporate and Partnership Fiduciary Standards: What You Need to Know and Look For, presented to the Maine Association of Professional Accountants, October 19, 2011
Electronic Discovery: Preservation Duties, and Litigation Holds; Cost Shifting, Sanctions, and Statutory Safe Harbors, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Maine Trial Lawyers Association, March 11, 2011
Electronically Stored Information: Preservation Responsibilities and the Litigation Hold Process, presented at the 2010 Maine Federal Bench Bar Conference, October 22, 2010
Managing Your Risks And Maximizing Your Rewards In Litigation: Limiting the Risk and Cost of Litigation Through Contracts, presented at Bernstein Shur seminar, August 21, 2009
Insurance Coverage for Intellectual Property Claims, presented at the Maine Bar Association Summer Meeting, June 19, 2004
JD, Rutgers Law School, 1986
BA Biology, Carleton College, 1981, cum laude
Admitted to practice:
States of Maine, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania
Maine State Bar Association
American Bar Association
Edward Thaxter Gignoux Inn of Court