Christopher D. Donovan


850 Park Shore Drive
Trianon Centre, 3rd Floor
Naples, FL 34103
P 239.213.3865
F 239.261.3659
200 South Orange Avenue
SunTrust Center, Suite 1000
Orlando, FL 32801
P 407.896.2224
F 407.835.3596
Fort Myers
2320 First Street, Suite 1000
Fort Myers, FL 33901

Christopher D. Donovan


Phone: 239.213.3865
Fax: 239.261.3659

Chris is one of only three attorneys in Collier, Lee, and Charlotte County to have the honor of being Board Certified in Appellate Practice by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization. He focuses his practice on appellate and original-jurisdiction proceedings in both state and federal court. Chris also provides litigation-support services, such as preserving the record, drafting jury instructions, and writing dispositive motions.

With over 12 years of appellate experience, Chris has handled nearly 150 different appellate matters involving a broad range of legal areas, including commercial, real estate, admiralty, employment, probate, family, constitutional, and administrative law. He also represents a wide range of industries, including local governments, businesses, real estate developers, banks, and community associations.

Before joining Roetzel, Chris served as a staff attorney for the Second District Court of Appeals, and he interned for the Florida Supreme Court. At Roetzel, he has argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, the federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Florida Supreme Court, and the Florida District Courts of Appeal.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully reversed an $8 million deficiency judgment against guarantors based on a conflicts-of-law issue
  • Successfully defended municipality on first- and second-tier certiorari review following an untimely FLUEDRA proceeding
  • Successfully defended a business’ injunction prohibiting a former employee from violating a non-compete and stealing trade secrets
  • Reversed a judgment that improperly relieved guarantors of repaying over $600,000 in outstanding debt
  • Prevailed on appeal against a hospital that had negligently administered a recalled drug during surgery by arguing that the case arose under product-liability theories instead of medical malpractice
  • Reversed sizable judgment against a commercial condominium association that a unit owner should not have received because the claim was barred by the statute of limitations
  • Reversed the denial of a $1.6 million deficiency judgment owed to a bank despite the absence of a trial transcript
  • Protected a school board's ability to keep educational records confidential under Florida’s Sunshine Laws
  • Overturned the denial of a developer's building permit
  • Reversed an order preventing a creditor from discovering a judgment debtors' assets
  • Overturned a discovery order compelling production of privileged documents
  • Successfully defended a federal judgment exonerating a city accused of civil-rights violations under § 1983
  • Prevailed in a probate appeal involving issues of standing and undue influence


  • Board Certified in Appellate Practice by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization
  • Selected as a "Florida Rising Star" by Florida Super Lawyers magazine (2010-2011, 2014-2017)
  • Selected as a “Legal Elite Up & Comer” by Florida Trend magazine (2016)
  • Staff Attorney, Florida Second District Court of Appeals


  • 2004, J.D., Stetson University College of Law
    • cum laude
    • Stetson Law Review, Editor
    • Moot Court
    • Intern for the Florida Supreme Court
  • 2001, B.A., Stetson University

Professional Affiliations

  • American Inns of Court Member, Michael R.N. McDonnell Inn
    • President Elect (Presently)
    • Former Secretary (2016-17)
    • Former Program Director (2015-17)
  • Florida Bar Appellate Practice Section
    • Executive Council Member
    • Chair of the CLE Committee
  • Collier County Bar Association
    • Young Lawyer's Section, Former President (2015-Present)
    • Second District Court of Appeals Liaison (2015-16)
  • ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers, Member

Community Affiliations

  • Young Professionals of Naples
  • High School Moot Court Coach
  • Pro Bono Appeals
  • Judge at Moot Court Competitions
  • Judge at Mock Trial Competitions
  • Fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club (2010-2011)
  • Member of Turning Point Church



  • “#ModernAppellatePractice 2.0”—Speaker, CCBA Trial Law Section, Naples, FL (August 2017)
  • “Two’s a Company in the Florida Sunshine”—Speaker, Florida Municipal Attorney’s Association, St. Petersburg, Florida (July 2017)
  • “Coffee with the Court: What really happens behind the scenes?” – Moderator, Hillsborough County Bar Association, Tampa, FL (February 2017)
  • “Practicing with Professionalism” – Moderator, The Florida Bar, Bonita Springs, FL (November 2016)
  • “Practicing with Professionalism” – Panel Member, The Florida Bar, Bonita Springs, FL (November 2015)
  • "#ModernAppellatePractice" - Lee County Bar Association, Fort Myers, FL (December 2015)
  • "Evidentiary Issues in Business Litigation" - Co-Speaker, CCBA Trial Law Section, Naples, FL (November 2015)
  • "Ethical Issues with Attorney's Fees as Sanctions" - Co-Speaker, CCBA Young Lawyer's Annual Ethics Seminar, Naples, FL (January 2015)
  • "Principles of Appellate Review" - Co-Speaker, CCBA Trial Law Section, Naples, FL (April 2014)
  • "Practical Tips on Building your Appellate Practice within the Confines of the Florida Bar's Advertising Rules" - Moderator, Florida Bar Appellate Practice Section (March 2014)
  • "Ethics in Appellate Practice" - Speaker, CCBA Young Lawyer's Annual Ethics Seminar, Naples, FL (January 2014)
  • "Practicing with Professionalism" - Panel Member, The Florida Bar, Bonita Springs, FL (2012)
  • "Inquiring Minds Want to Know: The Panel Responds to Questions About Appellate Practice & Ethics" - Moderator, CCBA Appellate Practice Seminar, Naples, FL (2012)
  • "Pet Peeves, Oral Argument Issues, and the Decline of Professionalism in the Second DCA" - Moderator, CCBA Appellate Practice Seminar, Naples, FL (2010)
  • "Ethical Issues in Appellate Advocacy" - Moderator, CCBA Appellate Practice Seminar, Naples, FL (2009)

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