Nicole Donovsky serves as general counsel to school districts with an emphasis in labor and employment issues, including contract negotiations, grievances, arbitrations, FMLA, ADA, workers’ compensation, evaluation, nonrenewal and termination. Nicole also advises school districts in the areas of career-technical education, student issues, civil rights, public records, abuse reporting, ethics, and board governance. Nicole’s passion is providing clients with sound guidance and support during crisis situations.

Nicole is chief legal counsel to the Buckeye Association of School Administrators. She has presented extensively on issues affecting public education. As a product of Southeast Ohio, Nicole is committed to Bricker Graydon’s Southeast Ohio team.

In addition to proactively counseling clients, Nicole has represented school districts before a variety of courts and administrative agencies throughout Ohio, including the Ohio Supreme Court.


Capital University, B.A., Education (1995)

Capital University, J.D., emphasis in Labor & Employment Law (2000)


Listed, Columbus CEO Top Lawyers (2015)

Listed, Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars Edition (2012, 2013)

Professional Activities

Member, Board of Counselors, Capital University Law School

Past Member & Past Board Member, Grandview Heights-Marble Cliff Education Foundation

Past Board Member, Grandview Heights Public Library Foundation

Past-Chair and Member, Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys Executive Committee

Member, National School Board Association Council of School Attorneys

Participant, Columbus Bar Association Barrister Leader Program (2003-2004)


Exclusive representation law challenge rejected by Sixth Circuit
Successfully defended the Marietta City School District Board of Education in a lawsuit brought by a public school teacher who attempted to expand the reach of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME and argued that Ohio’s exclusive union representation violates the First Amendment. The Sixth Circuit rejected this challenge and granted a summary judgment to both the union and school district.

Defense of Public Sector employers in unreported labor arbitration hearings
Successfully defended public sector employers across Ohio in numerous unreported labor arbitration hearings.

Negotiation of separation agreements
Successfully negotiated numerous separation agreements with employees to avoid the time, expense, and publicity of non-renewals and terminations

Crisis management services
Served as a reliable and integral team member in managing crisis situations that involved delicate facts and circumstances including criminal charges, employment separations and media attention


Presentations & Publications

Speaking Engagements


Additional Items

  • Author, Ohio School Law Manual, 2024, Matthew Bender & Co.
  • Nicole has participated in countless presentations on behalf of BASA, OSBA, OASBO, OESCA, OALSS, OACTE, and for specific clients on topics such as board governance, public meetings and records, civil rights, and labor and employment issues, to name a few.

Outside The Office

In addition to raising three active sons with her husband, Joe, it is important for Nicole to find time to give back. Nicole served on the Grandview Heights-Marble Cliff Education Foundation Board for six years, two of those in the role of President. She has also served on the Grandview Heights Public Library Foundation Board and Tri-Village Mentor League Board. Nicole also volunteers for a variety of community organizations.

Nicole Donovsky, Bricker Graydon LLP Photo

Nicole M. Donovsky

  • 100 South Third Street
    Columbus, OH 43215 -4291


  • State of Ohio
  • United States District Court - Southern District of Ohio
  • United States District Court - Northern District of Ohio
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court
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