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Peter F. Donati


Peter Donati is a partner in the firm's Employment & Executive Compensation Group. He represents employers and senior executives in the areas of employment law, labor law, and executive compensation.

Peter has extensive experience in a wide range of employment-related litigation, including discrimination claims, employment contract disputes, and claims involving restrictive covenants. He has appeared in state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate level throughout the country and represented clients before the EEOC, IDHR, and other government departments and agencies. Peter also counsels clients on compliance matters, prepares employment policies and handbooks, and conducts internal investigations, employee training and audits. In addition, he represents clients on employment-related matters in domestic and international transactions. As a result of this work, he has developed professional relationships with employment lawyers in countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, South America, and Asia.

Peter’s representation of clients in the area of labor law includes advising on union representation campaigns, strikes, primary and secondary picketing, collective bargaining, and contract maintenance. He also represents clients with respect to labor matters in arbitrations, before the NLRB, and in the federal courts.

In the area of executive compensation, Peter assists employers with the development and implementation of non-qualified executive compensation plans as well as individual employment, confidentiality, and restrictive covenant agreements. He also represents senior executives in the negotiation of their employment and severance agreements.

Peter’s representative matters include:

  • Advising on the divestiture of a division with 25,000 employees in over 30 countries
  • Obtaining dismissal of an age discrimination case in California on grounds of FAA preemption (this is one of only a handful of cases involving federal preemption of state employment laws and the first of its kind in the 9th Circuit)
  • Overcoming three successive union organizing attempts at a factory in Michigan over a seven year time period
  • Successfully enforcing various competitive restrictions against a former executive in emergency litigation in Texas state court
  • Advising a group of investment bankers on their departure from their employer and hiring by a competitor
  • Preparing a long term incentive plan and annual bonus plan for a high frequency trading firm
  • Representing the chief executive officers of a publicly traded for-profit educational corporation and of a leading retailer in the negotiation of their employment agreements

In addition to his listed education, Peter studied at St. Edmund Hall College, Oxford University. He clerked for the Hon. Frank J. Battisti in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Peter also has received an AV peer review rating from Martindale Hubbell, the highest rating conferred by that organization. Prior to joining Levenfeld Pearlstein, Peter was a partner with Winston & Strawn in Chicago.

Peter Donati Headshot

Additional Information

Education & Admissions

  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., cum laude
  • Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, B.S.
Bar Admissions
  • Illinois
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Trial Bar
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit


  • American Bar Association - Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Society For Human Resource Management
  • Board Member, Team Evanston Soccer Club


  • Best Lawyers in America, 2010-2024
  • Illinois Super Lawyer, 2008-2024
  • Leading Lawyer, Leading Lawyers Network
  • AV Rated, Martindale-Hubbell


  • What is the most interesting part of your job?
    Dealing with really smart people to solve really difficult problems.

  • What’s your favorite vacation spot?
    Summer: the Third Coast (Michigan). Can’t beat the sunsets on Lake Michigan and great family memories. Winter: Grand Case, Saint Martin. Wonderful people, restaurants, and beaches. My thoughts and prayers go out to the island as they rebuild after Hurricane Irma.

  • What’s your favorite book?
    I’ve never been one to cling to a single book or author above all others. Some books that have made my life richer along the way, in no particular order: Chronicles of Barsetshire (Trollope), Middlemarch (Elliot), War & Peace (Tolstoy), Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck), In Our Time (Hemingway), Wolf Hall (Mantel), and Crossing to Safety (Stegner).

“I really enjoyed working with Peter. He was great, very well-versed and therefore calming during a tumultuous time.”

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