Block O'Toole & Murphy
S. Joseph Donahue joined Block O’Toole & Murphy in 2005. Shortly thereafter, he was named a Partner of the firm in 2012, having achieved several landmark verdicts and settlement outcomes, including a $53,500,000 verdict for a paralyzed construction worker. During his eighteen-year tenure at Block O’Toole & Murphy, Mr. Donahue has attained more than $200,000,000 for his clients, with focused attention on accidents in the areas of construction, motor vehicles, tractor trailers, and medical malpractice cases.
During his twenty-seven-year legal career, Mr. Donahue has earned a reputation as a skilled trial lawyer. After graduating from The City University of New York School of Law in 1997, he landed a job as Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, where he investigated thousands of criminal cases and fought successfully for crime victims in front of the New York State Grand Jury. He was later promoted to Senior Assistant District Attorney, prosecuting violent atrocities such as homicides, shootings, and robberies. It was during this time that Mr. Donahue’s idea of success began to shift. “When a wife, husband, or parent comes to me and says, ‘You obtained justice for my loved one’—that’s when I feel most successful,” he said. “That’s the best success you can have.”
After leaving the District Attorney’s Office in 2003, Mr. Donahue shifted to work at a prominent New York City firm specializing in medical malpractice litigation. There, he represented hospitals and physicians accused of medical malpractice in the fields of cardiology, obstetrics and gynecology, neurosurgery, general surgery, and failure to diagnose cancer. He brings this expertise to his work at Block O’Toole & Murphy.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I still learn something new in every trial,” Mr. Donahue said. “Every trial should pose a challenge—a new opportunity to learn. If you don’t learn something new each time, you’re either full of it, or you’re not looking to learn.”
Mr. Donahue’s reputation as a trial lawyer has earned him various recognitions and awards, including his selection to “New York Super Lawyers” from 2011-2023, recognizing him as one of the top 5% of lawyers in his field. Mr. Donahue was also named as one of New York State’s “Top 1% Trial Counsel for Medical Malpractice,” and he earned membership to both The Million Dollar Advocates Forum and The Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
What Mr. Donahue loves most about being a lawyer is making a difference—something that hasn’t changed for him, even after so many years. “Every single day that I come into Block O’Toole & Murphy, I know that I’m going to potentially make a difference in someone’s life—someone who is seriously injured, whose life has been turned upside down,” he said. “I think a lot of people in our industry view cases in terms of how much money they will make off someone else’s hardship. We look at things in terms of how we’re going to help someone.”
Mr. Donahue and his wife have two teenage sons.
Selected to New York Super Lawyers since 2011