Monday, April 7, 2008
Chief Deputy County Counsel Donovan M. Main Retires
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Chief Deputy County Counsel Donovan M. Main of the Los Angeles County Counsel’s Office has retired after more than 38 years of service.
Main, who joined the office soon after earning his law degree from USC, officially retired March 28, but will continue to serve as counsel to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission under a law permitting county retirees to work up to 120 days per year while drawing retirement pay.
A graduate of Occidental College, Main was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1970. After joining the County Counsel’s Office, he was assigned to the office’s Schools Division in 1976, becoming the division’s principal deputy in 1980, and was later promoted to assistant county counsel in 1984.
He sought appointment by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to succeed retiring County Counsel DeWitt W. Clinton in 1998, but the position was awarded to Lloyd W. “Bill” Pellman, who promoted Main to senior assistant county counsel upon taking office.
In a recent conversation with the MetNews, Pellman reflected that he made the decision to promote Main because the latter “clearly deserved additional responsibility” and was “a natural to supervise employment and litigation matters” based on his coworkers’ respect for him, “both for his approach, and for his knowledge and experience.”
Pellman again promoted Main, to chief deputy counsel, in 2003. In that position, Main served as the office’s top litigator.
He said he tapped Main for the position because of his “demeanor, the recognition of his coworkers, and his vast litigation experience,” and because Pellman could foresee that the Board of Supervisors, to whom the county counsel provides legal advice and representation, was going to focus more and more on litigation involving the county.
“He was somebody the board knew, and would listen to and recognize as a solid advisor,” Pellman said.
In 2004, Main again sought appointment as county counsel upon Pellman’s retirement, and was one of five finalists to be interviewed by the Board of Supervisors. However, he was beaten out for the position by then-Acting County Counsel Raymond G. Fortner Jr., who today continues to serve as county counsel.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum General Manager Pat Lynch, who has worked with Main in the latter’s representation of the Coliseum Commission, described Main as a “can-do kind of guy,” and described Main’s “long-time wealth of knowledge” as “invaluable.”
“Sometimes government lawyers can be difficult to work with,” Lynch said. “[Main] is anything but.”
Pellman similarly praised Main’s demeanor, calling him “one of the most pleasant people to work with during my entire career with the [County Counsel’s Office].”
He predicted that Main’s departure would be a loss for the office, diluting within management’s ranks the “firsthand knowledge of the litigation process, including settlements and procedures, that others with less experience lack familiarity with.”
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company