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Nicholas M. O'Donnell
(617) 338-2814 or
(212) 660-3000

Nicholas M. O’Donnell is a partner in the Litigation Department of our Boston office. Mr. O’Donnell’s practice focuses primarily on complex civil litigation. He represents manufacturers, individuals, investment advisers, banks, and others around the world in contract, securities, consumer protection, tort and domestic relations cases, with particular experience in the German-speaking world. Mr. O'Donnell is a member of the Art Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association.

Additionally, Nick has authored and contributed to several books on art law:

  • A Tragic Fate—Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art, (Ankerwyke/ABA Publishing, 2017)
  • “Public Trust or Private Business? Deaccessioning Law and Ethics in the United States,” in Éthique et Patrimoine Culturel - Regard Croisés, G. Goffaux, ed., (L’Harmattan, 2016)
  • “Vergangenheit als Zukunft?  Restitutionsstreitigkeiten in den Vereinigten Staaen,” in Ersessene Kunst—Der Fall Gurlitt, J. Heil and A. Weber, eds., (Metropol, 2015)
  • “Nazi-Looted Art—Risks and Best Practices for Museums,” in The Legal Guide for Museum Professionals, Julia Courtney, ed., (2015, Rowman & Littlefield)

Representative Client Work

  • Lead counsel to plaintiffs seeking restitution of the Guelph Treasure, sold under duress by Jewish art dealers in 1935 to the Prussian government, the first case in which a U.S. court has found jurisdiction over a German state museum for claims to allegedly Nazi-looted art. Upheld on appeal in Philipp v. Fed. Republic of Germany et al., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18664 (D.C. Cir. July 10, 2018)
  • Aid international manufacturers and financial institutions in cross-border disputes
  • Advise European state museums and domestic art museums on wartime restitution claims
  • Represent public and private companies and individuals in complex contractual, non-competition and non-solicitation disputes
  • Obtain preliminary and permanent relief for real property owners concerning property use and rights
  • Counsel investment advisers in regulatory compliance and class action civil litigation
  • Successfully defended religious academy in challenges to governance
  • Litigate in federal and state courts concerning rights of victims of international child abduction
  • Obtain restraining orders for victims of domestic violence and successfully assert privacy rights of victims of violent crime

Nick's full biography may be viewed here.

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Massachusetts, 2003
  • New York, 2012
  • District of Columbia, 2013
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States

Awards & Honors

  • “Up & Coming Lawyer,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, 2008
  • “Rising Star,” Massachusetts Super Lawyers, (2007, 2009 - 2012)

Professional & Civic Activities

  • Past Vice President, Danforth Museum of Art Board of Trustees
  • Boston Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Boston Bar Association, Public Interest Leadership Program


  • J.D., Boston College Law School, 2003
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Williams College, 1997