Donald Watkins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Donald V. Watkins (born September 8, 1948) is an American trial attorney, banker, and entrepreneur.

Early life[edit]

Watkins was born in Parsons, Kansas on September 8, 1948 to Dr. Levi Watkins, Sr. (1911–1994) and Mrs. Lillian Bernice Varnado Watkins (1917–2013). He is the fifth of six children born to Levi and Lillian Watkins. His father was president of Alabama State University from 1962–1981, his mother was an educator.

Watkins attended Southern Illinois University from 1966 to 1970. In September 1970, Watkins was one of two black students to attend the University of Alabama School of Law after three black law students broke the color barrier at the law school the prior academic year. Watkins attended the three-year law school program on a Herbert Lehman Scholarship awarded by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York City. Lehman Scholarships were awarded to young African-American students in the 1970s who demonstrable an interest in advancing the cause of civil rights and/or serving the public interest.

After graduation from law school, Watkins started a law practice in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1979, he was elected to the Montgomery City Council where he served as from 1979 to 1983. In 1985, Watkins expanded his law practice into Birmingham, Alabama, and became a confidant and Special Counsel to Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington Jr., until 1998.


In 1976, Watkins won a pardon for Clarence Norris, one of the Scottsboro Boys. Watkins was a longtime attorney and confidant of Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington, Jr. He represented HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, whose acquittal he won in a 2005 trial.[1]

Watkins attempted to purchase the Minnesota Twins[2] in 2002 and the Anaheim Angels[3] in 2003. The owner of the Twins decided against selling his baseball team and the Angels were sold to Arturo Moreno.

In March 2012, Nabirm Energy Services (PTY) Ltd., Watkins' Namibian-based energy services company signed an exclusive contract with the government of Namibia to mine uranium for sale to nuclear power stations worldwide.[4] In July 2012, Watkins' energy services company was awarded a petroleum exploration license by the Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy.


  1. ^ Faulk, Kent (May 30, 2014). "Birmingham and attorney Donald Watkins in legal fight over taxes; city wants his office padlocked". The Huntsville Times. Retrieved May 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Ventura To Watkins: Hip, Hip, Hooray!". CBS News: Eye on Sports. 2002-01-15. Retrieved 2007-05-07. 
  3. ^ "Former slugger Canseco will pitch his own book". 2002-09-04. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  4. ^ "Birmingham company run by Donald Watkins to mine uranium in Namibia". The Huntsville Times. March 28, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2015.