Donald J. Magilligan is a partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy based in the firm’s San Francisco office. Magilligan pursues justice on behalf of wildfire victims, families whose loved ones have died, victims of others’ fraud and negligence, and other just causes.
Magilligan has tried 48 jury trials in a wide variety of cases ranging from breach of contract to homicide. He honed his trial skills during a ten-year career as a prosecutor in Santa Clara County (2012–18) and Contra Costa County (2008–12). Magilligan was recognized for distinguished service by the Santa Clara District Attorney, San Jose Police Department Gang Intelligence Unit, and the San Jose Police Academy where he taught ethics, evidence, and search and seizure.
Magilligan received his J.D. from the University of San Francisco. While at U.S.F., he was a member of the Law Review, served on the Student Budget Committee, and received the CALI award for being the top student in Torts. Magilligan sat on the Faculty-Student Steering Committee at the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good. During law school, Magilligan learned how to try cases by watching experienced prosecutors at the United States Attorney’s Office, San Mateo District Attorney’s Office, and San Francisco District Attorney’s Office during Kamala Harris’s tenure. Magilligan learned how to write during his clerkship with the Honorable Maura Corrigan of the Michigan Supreme Court.
Inspired by his time as a domestic violence prosecutor, Magilligan now sits on the board of directors for CORA, San Mateo County’s only provider of comprehensive intimate partner abuse prevention services including housing, counseling, and litigation support.
Magilligan also sits on the board of the San Mateo County Trial Lawyers Association, which seeks justice for all by preserving and protecting the constitutional right to trial by jury for individuals in San Mateo County.
Magilligan is a member of the Consumer Attorneys of California, where he lectures at conferences on topics including evidence, expert witnesses, and jury selection.
In 2022, Magilligan and Nabilah Hossain settled a wrongful death case brought by the heirs of Keith Green, a San Mateo County native who was brutally murdered. Before this civil settlement, Tiffany Li, the mother of Keith’s children, had escaped criminal justice. The settlement amount is confidential for the protection Green’s minor children.
In 2021, Magilligan led CPM’s efforts to settle hundreds of wildfire victims’ claims with the $13.5 billion Fire Victim Trust, created when PG&E emerged from bankruptcy.
In 2021, Magilligan, Anne Marie Murphy, and Joe Cotchett were appointed lead counsel for settling a class action on behalf of 662 defrauded homeowners against a Fortune 500 Developer at the Shipyard in San Francisco.
In 2021, Magilligan secured a seven-figure wrongful death settlement (policy limits) for the heirs of a man who died in a San Joaquin County car crash.
In 2020, Magilligan helped secure an eight-figure settlement for a woman who suffered catastrophic injuries in a car accident on Highway 5 just north of downtown Los Angeles.
In 2019 and 2020, Magilligan recovered the policy limits of the defendants’ liability insurance coverage in several personal injury cases. Those cases include an elderly couple injured in a Monterey County car crash (seven-figure settlement), a woman who suffered a concussion in a Santa Barbara County car crash (six-figure settlement), and a woman who suffered broken ribs in a San Mateo County car crash (six-figure settlement).
In 2019, John Thyken and Magilligan recovered a 7-figure settlement for three small business owners displaced by a fire that started when an unlicensed driver crashed into the building where they leased space for their businesses. After three years of litigation with insurance companies for the landlord, the neighboring property owner, and the driver, the CPM team prevailed and obtained a substantial recovery for the small business owners.
In 2018, Anne Marie Murphy and Magilligan won a seven-figure jury verdict in San Mateo County on behalf of an international businessman who suffered over $1 million dollars in real estate losses caused by his local real estate investment partners. After a three-week trial, the jury found that the local partners had breached their partnership agreement with CPM’s client, and the jury rejected the defense cross-complaint seeking damages against the plaintiff—a complete victory for CPM’s client.
In 2017, Magilligan prosecuted three international drug traffickers in a three-month jury trial. The trial was the culmination of a multi-year DEA investigation which resulted in the seizure of approximately $4 million worth of cocaine, methamphetamine, and United States currency.
In late 2016 and early 2017, Magilligan convicted a domestic abuser of first-degree murder, a jealous ex-boyfriend of second-degree murder, and a scorned lover of conspiracy to murder in three separate jury trials.
Honors & Awards
Honors & Recognitions
Irish Legal 100
San Mateo County Trial Lawyers, Board Member (2020 to present)
San Mateo County Bar Association
Thomas More Society of San Francisco
Consumer Attorneys of California
Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA) – Board of Directors
J.D., University of San Francisco
B.S., Loyola Marymount University
- Clerk, Honorable Maura Corrigan of the Michigan Supreme Court
- California Superior Court
- United States Supreme Court
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Federal District Courts (Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Central Districts)