William S. Donio
Location: Atlantic City, New Jersey
William S. Donio joined Cooper Levenson in 2003 with the merger of his own successful Hammonton, New Jersey-based practice into the firm. His background is rich with experience in the public sector, with a focus on representing local boards of education. Wil founded and chairs Cooper Levenson’s Education Law practice group, a department that is known throughout the State for its “solution centered” approach to education law.
Wil frequently works with other practice groups including Employment Law, Land Use, Commercial Litigation, and Municipal/Governmental Services. In addition to education law and education-related litigation, Wil’s practice encompasses such areas as commercial litigation, as well as commercial transactions, administrative law, municipal law, real estate development and appeals. Wil also represents privately held commercial entities in corporate litigation and employment matters.
A graduate of Columbia University School of Law, Wil represents and has represented dozens of school districts, large and small, in every part of the State of New Jersey. Wil and the attorneys in his practice group have extensive experience in litigating special education matters, discrimination claims, sexual harassment claims, disability discrimination claims, construction matters, public bidding matters, family medical leave act violations, tort claims, and open public records claims. One case of special note is Clifford Levine v. Voorhees Township Board of Education. Wil represented Voorhees Township Board of Education in this action. He was successful in trying this matter to conclusion and have the jury return a “no liability” verdict for our client. The Plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit alleging the school district violated New Jersey LAD (law against discrimination) with a demand of $1.5 million. The matter went before a federal jury where Wil received a successful “no liability” verdict.
Wil is an adjunct professor at Rutgers School of Law – Camden, where he teaches Education Law & Practice and a faculty member of the SRI-ETTC where he teaches on Student Rights and Responsibilities, Harassment Intimidation and Bullying and other education related topics. He frequently speaks at School Board Association gatherings and conventions and in-services staff for insurance, policy and continuing education compliance. Wil was selected in 2017 and 2018 for inclusion on the New Jersey Super Lawyer list* in the area of school law. He is rated Distinguished by Martindale Hubbell in the area of education law.** Wil was honored with two “40 Under 40” awards, one from the New Jersey Law Journal and one from Atlantic City Weekly.
Wil is extensively involved in his community and has donated his time over the years to many diverse organizations, such as:
- Assisting with the organization and incorporation of the Hammonton Education Foundation, the Red and White Gridiron Foundation for St. Joseph’s High School, the Community Partnership for Egg Harbor Township Schools, Inc., and the Galloway Community Charter School Foundation for Education
- Founding and Present Trustee of the Samuel A. Donio Foundation for Education, which awards scholarships to graduating seniors from Hammonton High School and St. Joseph’s High School in Hammonton as well as provides grant money for educational programs.
- Assisting with the South Jersey Aids Alliance
- Volunteer at area schools including Hammonton and Egg Harbor Township
- Volunteer presentations for State and local Bar Associations and State and local chapters of the NJ School Boards Assn. and various education professional associations
- Attorney member of the District I Ethics Committee 2003-2006.
- Coach for the Hammonton High School Mock Trial Team
- Coach for Hammonton Youth Soccer Assn.
A graduate of Rutgers College – Rutgers the State University (B.A. 1991) with High Honors in History, Wil was a Presidential Scholarship recipient, a Henry Rutgers Scholar, and a graduate of the General Honors Program. He is also a graduate of Columbia University School of Law (J.D. 1995), where he was Production Editor of the Columbia Business Law Review, and interned for the Honorable Joseph Rodriguez, USDJ. Wil was admitted to the bar in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the U.S. District Courts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in 1995, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 1996. A former member of the District I Ethics Committee, he belongs to the Camden County Bar Association and the Atlantic County Bar Association.
*Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, selects attorneys using “a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research.” Read more.
**Martindale-Hubbell conducts a thorough review of attorneys through a secure online peer review survey where a lawyer’s ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice is assessed by their peers. Read more.