Donnell J. Collins

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Donnell J. Collins



A shareholder in the Atlanta office and a native of Claxton, Georgia, Donnell Collins attended Morehouse College where he matriculated as a Presidential Scholar and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society following his junior year of study. Donnell graduated from Morehouse in 1993 with the highest honors (summa cum laude). He entered law school that same year at Emory University as a Merit Scholar.

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While in law school, he gained considerable experience as an intern for Chief Justice Robert Benham of the Supreme Court of Georgia. After graduating from Emory in 1996, Donnell launched his litigation career with the law firm of King & Spalding. In 1997, he joined the law firm of Zirkle and Hoffman where he continued his civil litigation practice. He also began an extensive insurance defense practice, specializing in the representation of self-insured employers, insurance companies, and third-party administrators in workers’ compensation matters. Five years later, he became a Partner in the firm.

Since joining Hall Booth Smith in 2002, Donnell’s practice has also included the defense of health care professionals in medical malpractice cases and general liability claims. He represents some of the most respected Fortune 100 companies. In 2006, he was appointed by Attorney General Thurbert Baker as a Special Assistant to the Attorney General to represent the State of Georgia in workers’ compensation matters. He is AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated™ (lawyers rank him at the highest level of professional excellence) and was recognized as one of the state’s top lawyers in Georgia Trend Magazine’s 2012 Legal Elite publication, Atlanta Magazine’s 2014 Top Lawyers of Georgia, and The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Top Lawyers 2018.

Now in his third decade of practicing law, Donnell continues to do so with the recognition as one of Georgia’s top rated lawyers and an AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated™ attorney.


Aging Services

Donnell has worked with long term care providers since joining Hall Booth Smith 19 years ago. He works diligently with clients to quickly address claims efficiently and cost effectively and handles all aspects of litigation. He has extensive experience defending assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home health entities, and community care retirement facilities against allegations of negligence and wrongful death.


Donnell’s practice includes the defense and representation of educational institutions and school administrators. He provides counsel on issues related to institutional policies and procedures, school safety and security, student rights and discipline, equity and discrimination, and records management. Donnell also represents professional educators in matters concerning their employment status, tenure, and certification.

Labor & Employment

Donnell is committed to helping employers avoid, resolve, and prevail in employment disputes involving the full range of employment and labor issues. This includes litigation in state and federal courts and the representation of employers before administrative agencies over claims including: discrimination, harassment, retaliation, accommodation, and state torts such as negligent supervision and hiring, intentional, and negligent infliction of emotional distress, defamation, invasion of privacy, and wrongful discharge allegations.

Medical Malpractice

Donnell has defended physicians, nurses, hospitals, and other medical defendants in medical malpractice cases involving allegations of wrongful death, negligent care and treatment, and misdiagnosis. He zealously represents health care professionals and entities in all phases of litigation.

Workers' Compensation

Donnell has served as counsel defending workers’ compensation claims for nearly two decades. He also serves as a Special Assistant to the Attorney General, where he represents the State of Georgia in workers’ compensation matters. He focuses on obtaining a swift and favorable resolution to claims as well as representing his clients’ long-term business interests.



State & Territory Courts:

  • Alabama, 2012
  • Georgia, 1996
    • Court of Appeals, Supreme Court; 1998
  • Pennsylvania, 2022
  • Washington, D.C.; 2016

U.S. District Courts:

  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 1998

U.S. Courts of Appeals:

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 1998


  • J.D., Emory University, 1996
  • B.A., Banking and Finance, summa cum laude, Morehouse College, 1993


  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • The Lawyers Club of Atlanta


  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Top 100 Black Lawyers in Business Labor and Employment Law, The National Black Lawyers, 2015
  • Top Lawyers of Georgia, Atlanta Magazine, 2014
  • Top Rated Lawyer in Medical Malpractice Law, The American Lawyer, 2014
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  • Legal Elite, Georgia Trend Magazine, 2012
  • Georgia Rising Star, Super Lawyers®, 2009
  • National TRIO Achievers Award, 1998

In the Press

Partner Donnell Collins chosen as one of the Top 100 Black Lawyers

Partner Donnell J. Collins has been chosen as one of the Top 100 Black Lawyers in Business Labor and Employment Law. The National Black Lawyers Top 100 is an invitation-only professional honorary organization composed of the Top 100 Black Lawyers. Members of The National Black Lawyers Top 100 exemplify superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence and performance

Partner Donnell J. Collins Receives Defense Ruling

Donnell Collins, a Partner in the Atlanta office, received a defense ruling on September 20, 2013 in a workers’ compensation case he tried in May before the Trial Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation as counsel for Sedgwick CMS and Universal Health Services.  Judge Elizabeth Lammers issued the Award denying the employee’s claim

Partner Donnell J. Collins has been selected by his peers as one of Georgia Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite

Hall Booth Smith is pleased to announce that Georgia Trend magazine recently recognized Donnell J. Collins as one of the state’s top lawyers. Several thousand Georgia lawyers nominated attorneys they considered best in 20 different practice categories. Congratulations to Mr. Collins who was selected this past year by his peers as one of Georgia’s legal elites. This distinction

Attorney Donnell J. Collins Receives a Defense Ruling

Donnell J. Collins, a Partner in the Atlanta office, received a defense award on September 16, 2012 a workers’ compensation case he tried as counsel for the State of Georgia.  Judge Vicki L. Snow issued the Hearing Award ruling in favor of the state on all issues (with the only exception being the state’s request for attorney’s