Richard Donahey, founding partner of The Donahey Law Firm, has been practicing law since 1968, coming up on 50 years.
After two years in the army, when Richard began his studies at The Ohio State University, the law was not even a speck on his radar. In fact, it wasn’t until after he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering that he really even learned what a lawyer was.
“When I was [at Ohio State], I got involved in campus politics, and that’s when I first learned about lawyers and law school. Before then, I had no idea what a lawyer was. I met a couple of law students through campus politics, and I decided, well, maybe that’s what I want to do.”
Richard may not have had any experience with the law when he began law school, but being in the army at such a young age (straight from high school) taught him a lot of valuable lessons that he’s carried with him throughout his career.
Richard Donahey entered the military when he was just 17 years old
“You grow up really fast. You learn to be very dependent, and independent, at the same time. [The military] disciplines you and teaches you to respect people who are above you in the chain of command as well as your contemporaries. That includes lawyers, judges, opposing counsel. You learn how to get along with other people, to treat people with respect.”
It was this very independence, discipline, and respect for authority that got Richard through law school in only two years and then immediately into his own practice.
Richard Donahey graduated law school at Ohio State University in only 2 years
“I got out [of law school] in 1967 and was admitted to practice in 1968. I joined a practice called Tuttle & Britt and I went right in and put my own shingle out. I rented space from them and just started practicing. I started getting court appointed cases, criminal cases. The lawyers at the firm would also send me work to do. I basically started practicing on my own from day one.”
Over the past 50 years, these valuable lessons have stuck with Richard and have helped guide him. He’s also learned a few new things along the way during his extensive legal career. He understands that success takes a lot of hard work, but also quite a bit of luck.
“A lot of it was just being in the right place at the right time honestly. Just being a little lucky and taking advantage of the opportunities as you see them. Take the bull by the horns, look down the road a little bit and try to project, and plan for the future. These are all abstract expressions, but if I’ve been successful in anything, it’s being able to look down the road and try to plan for the future.”
And this is exactly what he’s done. When Richard Donahey created The Donahey Law Firm, few law firms specialized exclusively in the rights and claims for injured individuals. Many firms focused on corporate law, but few were willing to take the chance that The Donahey Law Firm did: to work for their clients on a contingency fee-only basis, in order to represent injured individuals who were often unable to pay large, up-front legal fees. More than forty years later, the Donahey Law Firm still operates on a “contingent fee” basis. Today, The Donahey Law firm is the largest law firm in Central Ohio devoted exclusively to representing injured people.
The Donahey Law Firm is well established throughout the state of Ohio
If only the young soldier pulling KP at Fort Knox, Kentucky, peeling potatoes on his 18th birthday could see himself now!