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Clark Hill Thorp Reed lawyers exemplify the firm’s commitment to hard work, high ethical standards and dedication to client service. Our attorneys practice in diverse areas of law, and combine a multidisciplinary approach to solving legal problems. The bottom line: Clients of Clark Hill Thorp Reed benefit from attorneys whose expertise and commitment deliver effective client outcomes and superior legal service.

Joseph M. Donley

Member-in-Charge Philadelphia Office

215 640 8525 Office
215 640 8501 Fax
267 850 8746 Cell

One Commerce Square
2005 Market St, Suite 1000
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Joseph M. Donley is Member-in-Charge of the Philadelphia office and Leader of the Insurance & Reinsurance Practice Group. Joe concentrates his practice in complex civil litigation with an emphasis in the areas of insurance and reinsurance litigation. He has extensive experience representing both foreign and domestic clients in a variety of insurance related matters, including regulatory matters and agency proceedings. He has successfully handled numerous major reinsurance arbitrations and has been retained by insurers to assist in coverage matters and to assist in the assessment of adequacy of reserves for major books of US Casualty Business, including toxic tort, construction defects, and general casualty. Joe earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Akron in 1976 and his Bachelor of Science degree in Law Enforcement and Corrections from Pennsylvania State University in 1973. Upon graduating law school, he was Law Clerk to the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court before entering private practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For several years, Joe has been named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer, an honor bestowed upon the top five percent of Pennsylvania lawyers.  He has been designated as one of “The Best of the Best USA – Insurance & Reinsurance” by Expert Guides, the Legal Media Group Guides to the World’s Leading Lawyers, and also named in The International Who's Who of Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers. He is a member of the International Law Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association and the International Bar Association. Joe is Co-Chair of Mackrell International's Insurance Practice Group.


  • J.D., University of Akron, 1976
    Editor-in-Chief, Akron Law Review, 1975-1976
  • B.S., Pennsylvania State University, 1973

Professional / Civic Activities

  • A founding partner of Kittredge, Donley, Elson, Fullem & Embick, LLP, formed in 1981
  • Law Clerk to Hon. Benjamin R. Jones, Chief Justice, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 1976-1977
  • Served as Judge Pro Tempore in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, 1977
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and American Bar Associations
  • Member, Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel
  • Fellow, International Society of Barristers
  • Member, ARIAS U.S.
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyer
  • Past President, Board of Trustees for The Wyndcroft School
  • Member, Board of Directors for The Pottstown Symphony Orchestra, 2007-2010
  • LMG’s World Leading Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyer
  • Co-Chair, Mackrell International's Insurance Practice Group
  • Member, International Law Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Member, Italy-America Chamber of Commerce
  • "AV Preeminent" Peer Review Rated – Martindale-Hubbell

Bar / Court Admissions

  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of International Trade

Publications / Presentations

  • Speaker, “Best Practices Around Program Managers,” Society of Insurance Financial Management 54th Annual Conference, September 2013.
  • “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish: How it Applies to Reinsurance Agreements,” Expert Guides – The Best of the Best USA 2013.
  • Presenter, “Procedures of How to Incorporate Companies in Italy v. U.S., Differences Between Italian and US Regulations and the Way to do Business in These Countries,” co-sponsored seminar with Italy-America Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia and Studio Legale Pavia e Ansaldo, June 2013.
  • “Additional Insureds, Indemnification Agreements, and Certificates of Insurance. Are You Really Covered?,” Communiqué, May 2012.
  • Speaker, Reinsurance Association of America’s Re Basics Conference, “Demystifying Reinsurance: A Basics of Reinsurance Course,” Chicago, May 2011.
  • Speaker, Reinsurance Association of America’s Current Issues Forum, “Risks and Opportunities in the New Run-Off World,” Philadelphia, May 2010.
  • Author, "Insurance: The Return to the Fundamentals of Risk Management," ATL Insurance Law 2010: Top Lawyers on Trends and Key Strategies for the Upcoming Year, February 2010.
  • Co-Author, “Hugging the Shore: Can North American Insurers Compete in the Global Market?” Canadian Insurance Business Magazine, December 2009.
  • “Best Practices to Avoid Bad Faith Claims,” Minimizing Insurance Liability, January 2009.
  • “The Globalization of the Insurance Industry,” Mealey’s Litigation Conference, Philadelphia, December 2008.
  • “Tropical Storm Allison, The Perfect Energy Storm, Village Green Apartments,” presented at the Aegis National Claims Conference, October 2006.
  • “New Asbestos Documentation Requirements for Centuries Old Cedent – A Cedent’s Viewpoint,” presented at the Mealey’s Reinsurance Summit: Industry Challenges and Solutions Conference 2002, November 18 and 19, 2002.
  • “Insurance Coverage for Environmental Claims,” presented at the National Business Institute Seminar of Current Issues in Pennsylvania Environmental Law, April 1999.
  • “Discovery of Reinsurance Information Remains Unresolved in Most Jurisdictions,” Mealey’s Litigation Report: Reinsurance, October 15, 1997.
  • “Privileges and Other Considerations Regarding the Production of Documents and Things (Pa.R.C.P. 4009; Fed.R.C.P.34),” presented at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute Seminar in Philadelphia, September 1995 and August 1996.
  • “Taking Depositions: Current Issues and Practical Considerations,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute Seminar, Philadelphia, September 1995, August 1996.
  • “Gwaltney: Where Do Citizen Suits Go Now?”, Pennsylvania Bar Institute Seminars in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, July 1988.
  • Note, 8, Akron Law Review 171, 1974.
  • “Guidelines for Drafting Municipal Noise Control Ordinances”
  • “Discovery of Reinsurance — Information Remains Unresolved in Most Jurisdictions”