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John Donovan is a retired Court of Appeals Justice & District Judge who currently serves as a mediator and arbitrator. He retired in December of 2018. 


John Donovan was elected to the Texas 14th Court of Appeals Place 8 in  2012. He presided as Justice of the Texas 14th Court of Appeals Place 8 from 2013 through 2018. He was elected to the 113th Texas State District Court in 2010 and presided as Judge of the 113th Texas State District Court from 2011 to  2013. He was elected to the 61st Texas State District Court in 1996 and presided as Judge of the 61st Texas State District Court from 1997 to 2008. From 2009 to 2010, John Donovan served as Director of Judicial and Legal Issues for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, resolving judicial and legal issues concerning the citizens of Harris County. He was appointed by Harris County Judge Ed Emmett as TABC Hearing Judge for him.

John Donovan was Chairman of Special Dockets (mass torts) Committee, from 2002 to 2008, and later he was Chairman of the Rules Committee for the Board of Civil Judges. He became the presiding Judge of all silicone implant cases, totaling 4,870 cases, in June 1999 and concluded the last silicone implant case July 16, 2004.

John Donovan received his license from the State Bar of Texas in 1985 and practiced a wide range of litigation in courts throughout Texas. He concentrated in civil litigation with Travelers Insurance, staff counsel; Farmers Insurance, staff counsel; and the law firm of Edward Urquhart. He has represented both individuals and large corporations in Texas Courts. While with Travelers Insurance and Farmers Insurance staff counsel, he evaluated hundreds of lawsuits for settlement, mediation, or trial.

John Donovan graduated from South Texas College of Law cum laude in 1984 earning his J.D. degree. While at South Texas College of Law, he was Articles Editor for the South Texas Law Review and a member of the scholastic legal honor society, The Order of the Lytae.

John Donovan completed the University of Houston Law Center, A.A. White Dispute Resolution Center training in 2019 and the Attorney-Mediators Institute, Inc. training in 1996. He serves as a volunteer mediator, as needed, for the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center since 2019. He is a Director, Board of Directors Houston Bar Association Dispute Resolution Center from May 2021 to present. He is a 25 Year Fellow Member of the College of the State Bar of Texas. He is board certified Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has been since 1992.

John Donovan has served on the State Bar of Texas Court Rules Committee from 2013 to 2019 and served on the State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee from 2007 to 2012. He is  a member of the American Leadership Forum Criminal Justice Class 1 and a graduate of Leadership Houston Class XXII.

John Donovan is a life fellow of the Houston Bar Foundation, Houston Young Lawyer’s Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation. He currently sits on the Senior Lawyers Committee and the Administration of Justice Committee.

In addition to the numerous professional activities and awards, John Donovan is active in the community. He is a life member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He  has served on the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo World Championship Barbeque Contest Committee since 1998 and is a member of the Lifetime Committee.

John Donovan has served as a lector at St. Vincent de Paul Church since 1992. He has coached or has been an assistant coach for over 20 teams involving youth soccer, baseball and basketball. He was an agent for the West University Little League Board of Directors in 1998 and 1999; and served as equipment coordinator for the league the same years. He was a Trustee for West University Elementary School Foundation for several years and has actively volunteered in Houston Public schools. John Donovan and his wife Denise have four sons John, Sean, Ian and James.

John Donovan Mediation: 1910 Courthouse renovations underway
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