WEARING MANY HATS: Peter Donovan, Partner in Voightmann Law Firm, PC


Fine Art by Michelle Micalizzi
(All Rights Reserved)

My muse this week is Peter Donovan. Peter is a Partner in Voightmann Law Firm, PC


I have often said, don’t let that baby face fool you because Peter Donovan is a force to be reckoned with. Peter Donovan and I are members of BNI Business Leaders of North Scottsdale together and I have unfortunately referred him a lot of business. I say unfortunate because when people meet Peter, it is because an accident has occurred. As a biker, there have been a few too many people in cars over the past few years that failed to see good friends of mine on their bike and Peter’s services were needed. Let me take this moment to state, “Motorcycles are everywhere,” especially here in Arizona where we can ride almost every day of the year. Please keep your eyes open for bikers – we don’t do well when we hit the pavement because you did not see us. Peter is the ONLY accident injury attorney I refer to and it is not just because Peter is in my BNI. It is because Peter is the real deal AND he started his career working for the insurance companies. This man knows how insurance companies defend themselves and he is not a fan of how some of them choose to operate. This is the guy you want on your side because his burning desire is to help PEOPLE not insurance companies.

The three biggest things that impress me the most about Peter are:

  1. He is sincerely driven by the need to help people.
  2. He works both in and on his business with equal integrity and skill.
  3. He is a devoted husband and father who makes time to be a family man.

In a Nutshell….

The law is in Peter Donovan’s blood; he comes from a multi-generational family of attorneys. He is a good man and I don’t say that lightly. Attorneys get a bad rap and some of them deserve it. Peter Donovan is not an ambulance chaser, or someone looking to make a profit off of others’ suffering. He is a decent man who went to law school because he had a sincere, deep desire to HELP people. Having been in a few accidents myself where I needed to pay medical bills and quickly get back to a functional state, I can say that what Peter does is very important. If you or someone you know has had the unfortunate experience of having an accident, call Peter right away and do not wait. It is important that you get counsel on your side as soon as possible so you can navigate the insurance claim industry with as much skill and knowledge as possible.


Peter took a few minutes out to answer the five Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Questions.


1.) Help People

Peter got into to law to help people. However, his first opportunity, fortunately for his clients today, was on the defense side for the insurance companies. This is fortunate for his clients because he knows exactly how insurance companies operate. This branch of law also excites him, which is something that you want in an accident injury attorney. He is not burnt out and lifeless; he is on fire for helping his clients while building his business with integrity.

2.) Wear Many Hats

Peter and I have a similar experience in that we both went into occupations that required us to learn a new skill set of how to run a business. When you go to law school or art school, they do not tell you how to run your business. They teach you how to create, explore. and how to practice law. Making the leap from an employee to an owner is a challenge for most. As an owner you get to wear all the hats, not just the attorney hat. Marketing, generating sales, operational management and every little detail in between are now your responsibility. You are not only accountable for the outcomes of the case that you take on and your clients but also every little thing that keeps your business functioning

3.) Ride out the Storm

Many of the Fearless 13 in this series started their businesses in 2007-2008 when the economy was at its absolute worst. The recession was formidable for every business. It used to be said that in a recession barber shops/salons and bars do well. That was not the case in the last big recession; NO business was safe. People stopped getting their hair cut, they resorted to box coloring at home and they stopped going out all together. As an accident injury attorney one would think that this business was recession proof as well. That was not the case. Peter had to do like so many of the others in this series did, he had to batten down the hatches and just ride the storm out knowing that on the other side success awaited him .   He now has the benefit that comes from riding out a recession period, . knowing that if he can make it through that intense economic distress, he can make it through anything.

4.) Blood Sweat & Tears

I have had a few accidents and I have supported others who have had to litigate with an attorney working on a contingent basis. The reality is that as an accident injury attorney, you can spend literally years and years on a case with thousands of billable hours and not get paid a dime. You have to have a special kind of endurance to work like that because you need to keep in mind that your clients have been hurt. Often times your client is in the hospital and his or her life has been forever altered, or someone has died. At the end of years of work you may not only make nothing for your efforts, but you might also have to tell the family, who you have grown to care about on a deep level, that they will have to declare bankruptcy. This can often be the case because there is no money coming to them to pay for the bills that have accumulated in their name due to someone else’s negligence or over sight. This is most definitely not an easy business. As I think about it and I think of Peter Donovan, I am amazed at how well he carries the weight of his position in the lives of the families; the PEOPLE he has committed his life to helping.

5.) Learn the Lessons & Just Keep Going

Peter is a warrior. He has made a commitment to keep going much like the unique and great lives that he admires have, regardless of the challenges. He learns what he can from every transaction, both as an attorney and a business owner, and he just keeps moving forward. He takes this attitude into his personal life too and is an example to his wife. his children and the children that he coaches on his son’s baseball team. As long as he and everyone around him is learning, growing and having a little fun, he feels that he has done his job.

Peter’s son’s baseball team is in the playoffs this year. What an absolutely wonderful thing. I have my fingers crossed for them that they WIN! Because of this commitment to these kids, Peter may not be able to attend the Fearless 13 opening. Instead, he is doing one of the things that he loves to do most, be a GREAT Dad and set a positive example of being a coach who shows up no matter what!

Thank you so much Peter for taking the time out to be one of the Fearless 13! I look forward to seeing you again and your presence will be missed at the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Art Opening on May 14th at the Walter Gallery from 7-10PM.

Note from the Artist

Right away when I listened to Peter’s story, the image for his painting came to mind. The idea of wearing multiple hats came to me right away. As an attorney, a sales person, a manager, a husband, a father, a coach and an athlete himself, Peter changes hats often and with skill. The bowler hat is a whimsical reference to the surrealist artist, René Magritte, who depicted ordinary objects in an unusual context (like the bowler hat) in his paintings giving them new meaning. One of my favorite paintings of his is “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”). Like Magritte’s art subjects, Peter is not just an attorney, he is much more than that. He is the sum of all those roles and more. The fedora is a toss back for me to a time when businessmen wore them. Similarly, there is something endearingly nostalgic about Peter; he carries himself like a gentleman all the time. In modern popular culture, the bowler hat became a trademark for many comedians. In addition to the roles an entrepreneur must assume, maintaining a bit of levity amid the day-to-day chaos is essential. The top hat is just funny – no one wears top hats anymore! However, there is no doubt in my mind that if a situation required a top hat, Peter would wear it as well as he does all his hats. The top hat is a reference to the unknown and the willingness to do what ever it takes to get the job done. Also I always think of Abraham Lincoln when I see a top hat – and yes Lincoln was a lawyer. The baseball cap calls out how Peter integrates his business responsibilities alongside the joy of being an active father to his children. The one figure in the background is the one man – the one head for all the hats. The hanging light bulb is the universal sign of an entrepreneur this time hanging like a bulb in a closet giving light to a dark situation.


The Art of Fearlessly Doing Business!
Press Viewing (by invitation only): Friday, May 13 6-8PM
Opening: Saturday, May 14th 7-10PM
Conversation with the Artist: Saturday, May 21 7-9PM
Closing Reception: Thursday, June 9th 6-9PM 

10% Proceeds donated to the Arizona Consortium of the Arts

Walter Art Gallery
6425 East Thomas Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85257

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