Paul McDonald Paul McDonald

Paul McDonald


Meet Paul, top-notch litigation strategist, tenacious trial lawyer, and Bernstein Shur’s General Counsel.

Paul McDonald

207 228-7260 direct
207 774-1200 main
207 774-1127 facsimile

100 Middle Street
PO Box 9729
Portland, ME 04104-5029

  • The Best Lawyers in America® 2024
    Commercial Litigation
    Litigation – Bankruptcy
  • Chambers USA 2023 – Litigation: General Commercial, (15 years ranked)
  • Super Lawyers
  • AV Preeminent® – Martindale-Hubbell
  • Vincent L. McKusick Award, Maine State Bar Association


McDonald, Paul


A skillful litigator specializing in complex commercial and business litigation.

Paul is one of Maine’s go-to trial lawyers for difficult and bet-the-company litigation. Paul provides a unique and effective one-two punch for clients facing the prospect of litigation: combining a deep understanding of how the business world functions with ability to more clearly see the litigation playing field and, therefore, devise and implement winning strategies.  As Chambers USA put it in its 2017 Edition of America’s Leading Business Lawyers, “Clients describe him as ‘an excellent trial lawyer’ and peers praise his thoroughness: ‘He leaves no stone unturned and takes pride in his work product.’”  Paul serves as General Counsel to Bernstein Shur.  For many years, Paul was the Chair of Bernstein Shur’s Litigation Practice Group.

Paul is known for being able to quickly master the nuances of complex subject areas and handle any type of litigation. His areas of practice concentration include:

  • Corporate and Partnership Litigation, including claims involving corporate governance, corporate dissolution, shareholder/partner oppression and freeze out, and fiduciary duty issues.
  • Securities Litigation under the anti-fraud provisions of state and federal securities laws.
  • Appeals of state and federal procurement contract awards.
  • IP Litigation, including preliminary injunctions and accompanying litigation involving claims of trademark, trade dress, copyright infringement, trade secrets, as well as patent infringement.
  • Wireless Telecommunications Facility Siting Litigation, representing telecommunications facility providers as well as municipalities in cell tower siting litigation under the Federal Telecommunications Act.
  • “Top Hat” Deferred Compensation Plan Litigation in Chapter 11 Proceedings, representing plan participants in recovering their account balances from their employers’ bankruptcy estate and claims of the company’s bankruptcy creditors.

Before joining Bernstein Shur, Paul was:

  • A Partner at Hangley Aronchick, formerly Hangley Connelly, in Philadelphia
  • An Associate at Drinker, Biddle & Reath in Philadelphia
  • An Associate at Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler in New York

When Paul isn’t working, he is…

Spending as much time as possible with his wife, children, and grandchildren in the Maine outdoors, where they love to ski, hike, and swim. Paul is the Chair of the Board of the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA) and is active in his church, serving on its finance commitee. Paul is a former member of the Muskie Access to Justice Award Dinner Committee and a board member of the Wayside Soup Kitchen and Easter Seals Maine. Paul was a high school cross country runner and wrestler and a college and club rugby player. These days, his organized athletic activities have shifted to watching his children’s games and events.

Representative Matters

For Plaintiffs:

Obtaining a temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction on behalf of minority shareholder who had been subject to oppression/freeze out by majority shareholder in corporate dissolution action, which led to shareholder auction in which plaintiff ultimately acquired 100% of the stock of the corporation/auto dealership.

Obtaining favorable settlement after court-ordered mediation on behalf of bank in claim for negligent misrepresentation against members of the board of directors of borrower that defaulted on its loan agreements.  The case was heard in the Maine Superior Court Business and Consumer section.

Recovering $30 million and $29 million respectively for the beneficiaries of deferred compensation plans of bankruptcy debtors in two separate adversary class action proceedings in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

Overturning an award by the Maine Public Utilities Commission of a $32 Million contract for the State of Maine’s NextGen 911 system. This successful appeal of a contract award pursuant to a State-issued RFP required proof, by a heightened standard of clear and convincing evidence, that the award to competing bidder was arbitrary and capricious and in violation of law.

Overturning a contract award, based on the same heightened standards, pursuant to an RFP issued by the Maine Department of Labor seeking software that would detect unemployment insurance overpayments.

Successfully fending off a motion to dismiss and thereafter obtaining a settlement of $4.75 million in favor of plaintiffs in a federal securities fraud action brought in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts arising out of a tender offer by the general partner for limited partner interests in a real estate partnership.

Obtaining a preliminary and permanent injunction in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in favor of a major oil company after a multi-day trial in an action alleging trademark and trade dress infringement.

For Defendants:

Successfully obtaining a ruling by the Maine Supreme Court, on certified questions from the United States District Court, that Maine’s “Wrongful Birth Statute” prevented a mother from recovering damages that allegedly arose out of an unintended pregnancy and later birth of a normal, healthy child from the manufacturer of a long-acting, implantable contraceptive.

Successfully defending, before the Maine Supreme Court, the plan of conversion of a Maine for-profit corporation to a non-profit corporation and reclassification of shares of the for-profit corporation’s stock into interests in the non-profit corporation.  The case presented issues of first impression regarding the treatment of different classes of for-profit corporation shares of stock in a non-profit conversion.

Defeating, on First Amendment and other grounds, a preliminary injunction seeking to stop the broadcast of television ads prepared by a political action committee that urged Maine voters to oppose a citizen’s referendum seeking to implement a ban on bear-baiting, hounding, and trapping.  The victory was upheld on appeal by the Maine Supreme Court.

Successfully defending against challenge of award of Wholesale Liquor Contract by Maine Board of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations pursuant to a State-issued RFP.

Obtaining summary judgment on behalf of a Maine association of municipalities that was charged with violating plaintiffs’ first amendment free speech rights by using taxpayer funds to support and oppose different ballot initiatives aimed at controlling government spending. This precedent setting decision involved application of the evolving “government speech doctrine” by the United States District Court for the District of Maine.

Successfully defeating, after several years of litigation in the United States District Court for the District of Maine, a citizen suit brought against the owner and operator of a Maine hydroelectric dam facility alleging the illegal “take” of protected Atlantic salmon under the Endangered Species Act.

Obtaining summary judgment in favor of the board of directors of a Delaware corporation in the United States District Court for the District of Maine (upheld on appeal by the First Circuit Court of Appeals) in a shareholder derivative action asserting that the board had engaged in self-dealing by issuing shares of stock in exchange for personal guarantees of corporate refinancing.

Defeating preliminary injunction and damage claims brought by the direct competitor of a software manufacturing and development company alleging trademark, copyright and misappropriation of trade secrets claims brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The suit sought to block distribution of the defendant’s flagship software product, and would have resulted, if successful, in driving the company out of business.

Winning a defense verdict after a weeklong jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in favor of a merchant bank in a fraud/misrepresentation claim brought by a former owner seeking in excess of $10 million in damages.


JD, Rutgers Law School, 1986
BA, Biology, Carleton College, 1981, cum laude

Admitted to practice
States of Maine, New Jersey and New York


Maine State Bar Association
American Bar Association
Edward Thaxter Gignoux Inn of Court