Kelly E. O'Donnell, JCD

Canon Lawyer

CANONICAL CONSULTANT

Kelly O'Donnell, JCD,  has been a practicing canon lawyer for the past thirty years. She has also served as a Tribunal Director.  Up until February 2016,  Dr. O'Donnell held the position of Judge for the Fresno Diocesan Tribunal. She continues to participate as a Court Expert for ecclesiastical matters in civil courts.

Expert Witness

If you are in need of a canon lawyer, Dr. O’Donnell is available as an expert witness for attorneys. She is a member of the Canon Law Society of America (CLSA), the Canadian Canon Law Society (CCLS), and the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland (GLSGBI). She speaks fluent Spanish and Italian and has experience and expertise in several areas of canon law practice:

  • defending the rights of clergy, religious, and laity
  • the annulment process
  • parish closing issues
  • penal process and oral contentious trials
  • administrative procedures and processes

Guest Speaker

Kelly O'Donnell is a frequent guest lecturer on juridical and moral issues related to ecclesiastical and civil concerns. In 2013, she visited Chapman University's School of Law and spoke about "Canon Law and its Intersection with Secular Law." Dr. O'Donnell is available to give presentations regarding topics in Canon Law to universities, groups, and conferences.

Professor

Dr. O'Donnell's canon law teaching experience began in 1983. She has been an adjunct professor at Bakersfield College and a lecturer at California State University in Bakersfield and The Diocesan Institute in San Diego. Since 2011, Dr. O'Donnell has been an adjunct professor in the MBA program at California Lutheran University.

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom

Community Involvement

In addition to sharing her legal knowledge and expertise with those who need it, Dr. O'Donnell believes in taking the time to give back to the community. In 2017,  the Society of St. Vincent de Paul received a $50,000.00 grant from the Dignity Health Foundation in California to feed the homeless. The entire award amount was specified for food only. Kelly wrote the grant for the organization.

This year, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will receive a $70,000 grant, written by Dr. O'Donnell, from the Dignity Health Foundation.

Publications

Comprehensive Business Law, Revised First Edition by Michael Bootsma, Michael Thieme, Charles Damschen, Sophia Harvey, and Craig Nierman, in preparation for a second edition, peer review editor, 2016.

A Tale of Two Tribunals:  Management Then and Now, CLSA Proceedings, 77, 2015.  Co-authored with Rev. Anthony Bawyn, JCD. Published in 2016.

Business Law:  Text and Cases-Legal, Ethical, Global and Corporate Environment, 2014, 13th edition.  Mentioned as a contributor.