Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer

Enter legal issue and location

John D. O'Connor - San Francisco, CA

4 Embarcadero CenterSuite 1400 San Francisco, CA 94111

Super Lawyers®


Updated: 03/03/2020


John O'Connor has tried over 70 cases in federal and state venues throughout the country, with highly enviable success in complex, contentious disputes. Retained by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company as trial counsel in key cases, he achieved a pretrial dismissal in each concluded action...

John O'Connor has tried over 70 cases in federal and state venues throughout the country, with highly enviable success in complex, contentious disputes. Retained by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company as trial counsel in key cases, he achieved a pretrial dismissal in each concluded action. A former Federal Prosecutor, Mr. O'Connor was appointed lead outside counsel in certain S&L crisis litigation, defended a California Attorney General in campaign-related litigation, and successfully represented Golden State Warriors basketball Coach Don Nelson in significant contract claims. His greatest successes have been in the satisfactory resolution of closely-held business disputes.

Mr. O'Connor has held the highest Martindale-Hubbell "AV" rating for over 25 years, and has consistently been named a "SuperLawyer" by his Northern California peers. He has tried cases at the highest levels of practice since 1972.

Mr. O'Connor currently serves on the Board of Directors of Graduate Theological Union, The Lincoln Club of Northern California, and Alliance for Smiles, Inc.


  • Received a $165,000,000 counterclaim settlement in a hotel/casino lease dispute after an eight week jury trial in Nevada.
  • Received a directed verdict for his client in a Sherman Act §2, Antitrust action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California (Sacramento Division).
  • Obtained a defense verdict for his client in an unfair competition/fiduciary claim as well as a $1,300,000 verdict for his client on a defamation, wrongful termination counterclaim in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco Division).
  • Defended an $8,000,000 container crane construction defect claim while receiving a $2.7 million verdict for his client on a counterclaim for bidding misrepresentation.
  • Obtained a defense verdict in a wrongful death brake failure case in which both parents were killed and the two orphans were severely injured.
  • Obtained a defense verdict in San Francisco County Superior Court with a paraplegic plaintiff.
  • Received a defense verdict for his client in a case alleging an uncompensated joint venture dissolution/expulsion in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburg Division).
  • Obtained a $500,000 verdict in a soft tissue injury case after the defense rejected a $33,000 arbitration award.
  • Successfully bench-tried several insurance coverage actions, both for insurers and insureds.
  • Obtained a defense verdict in an age discrimination case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco Division).
  • Obtained defense verdicts in the first four "civil RICO" fraud suits tried in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco Division).
  • Wrote all "state of mind" and Fifth Amendment briefing regarding Patty Hearst for the government in the United States v.Hearst prosecution.
  • As co-counsel, obtained $3,000,000 and $3,600,000 defamation verdicts against a major insurance carrier, and successfully upheld the verdict on appeal through both the California Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court.
  • Successfully defended at trial a $109,000,000 claim for the death of a wealthy real estate entrepreneur in San Francisco County Superior Court.
  • As an Assistant United States Attorney, obtained guilty verdicts against each defendant brought to trial.
  • Obtained closure of banks, savings and loans and credit unions, followed by pursuit of director and officer, professional liability and bond claims on behalf of governmental institutions.
  • Both successful defense and successful pursuit of a wide range of claims against numerous and varied insurance industry entities, including property and casualty insurers; life and disability carriers; workers' compensation insurers; re-insurance and excess carriers; and insurance agents and brokers.
  • Obtained dismissals before trial of several "lender liability" suits against large commercial banks.
  • Successful defense of numerous civil rights suits against local, state and federal governmental entities.
  • Obtained favorable settlements and verdicts in employment cases on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants.
  • Obtained evictions on behalf of landlords in commercial leasing disputes.
  • Obtained highly favorable settlements on behalf of evicted commercial tenants.
  • Substantial experience in both defense and pursuit of construction defect claims.
  • Supervised firm trial lawyers in successful defense of over 5,000 asbestos cases; only one net payable plaintiff's verdict in approximately 100 trials.
  • Supervised innovative mass settlements of thousands of asbestos cases on terms favorable to client.
  • Significant experience in toxic tort cases addressing issues of medical and toxicological causation, liability, and damages involving tobacco, silicon, beryllium, aromatic hydrocarbons and other chemical products.
  • Obtained defense verdict in trial alleging significant automobile product manufacturing and design defect claims.
  • Performed extensive work for both plaintiffs and defendants in professional liability and director and officer litigation, including accounting, legal, financial, and medical issues.
  • Represented individual investors who opted out of class action securities litigation against Prudential Bache, and obtained recoveries several times greater than class action payments.
  • Defended and prosecuted derivative suits.


Mr. O'Connor graduated from the University of Notre Dame (A.B., 1968) magna cum laude and the University of Michigan Law School (J.D., 1972) cum laude. He was a member of the Michigan Law Review (1970-72) and Associate Editor in 1971-72. As a law student, he won several AmJur awards as the most outstanding student in several classes. He has twice been featured as Litigator in Profile by the Verdicts and Settlements publication for excellence in trial work. He has spoken at the Commonwealth Club, the Annual Convention of the American Bar Association, the San Francisco Bar Association and numerous other professional and civic groups.


Bar Admissions

  • Indiana, 1978
  • California, 1972
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California

Other Affiliations

  • American Bar Association (Member, Litigation and Tort and Insurance Law Section)
  • Commercial Law League of America (Member)
  • San Francisco Bar Association (Member)


  • The University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1972
    Honors: cum laude
    Honors: Several AmJur Awards
    Law Review: Michigan Law Review, Member, 1970 - 1972
    Law Review: Michigan Law Review, Associate Editor , 1971 - 1972
  • University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1968
    Honors: magna cum laude


Accepts Credit Cards

Office Information


4 Embarcadero CenterSuite 1400 San Francisco, CA 94111


Other Sources of Feedback About John D. O'Connor

Included on the 2024 Northern California list

Past Lists

  • 2023 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2022 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2021 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2020 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2019 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2018 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2017 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2016 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2015 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2014 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2010 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2009 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2008 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2007 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2006 Northern California Super Lawyers list
  • 2004 Northern California Super Lawyers list

View the profile for John D. O'Connor on Super Lawyers


  • Highest Martindale-Hubbell "AV" Rating
  • "SuperLawyer" by his Northern California Peers

When viewing a listing, consider the state advertising restrictions to which lawyers and law firms must adhere, as well as our Legal Directory disclaimer. Some lawyers publish comparative information regarding the services that they provide which may be subject to specific comparative communications restrictions.

Write Your Review

Fields marked with an * are required

1. Rating

Overall rating

How would you rate your overall experience with this lawyer?

Use the up and down arrows to increase or decrease the rating

Please Rate
Optional ratings
Please Rate
Quality Of Service
Please Rate
Professional Competence
Please Rate

2. Review

Please share your opinion of working with this attorney. Do not reveal personal information or details about your case. All submitted reviews are shared with the attorney prior to publishing.

Your feedback must be at least 50 characters.Your review must be at least 50 characters
I would recommend this attorney to friends and family:

3. Verification

Keep my name anonymous from public view:
Customer Type
Please choose one

Unable to send request

By submitting this form you agree to receive email communications from FindLaw related to the management of your review.

Privacy Statement Contact Lawyer FAQ

Map Location

Google Map

How do I choose a lawyer?

Consider the following:

Comfort Level
- Are you comfortable telling the lawyer personal information? Does the lawyer seem interested in solving your problem?

- How long has the lawyer been in practice? Has the lawyer worked on other cases similar to yours?

- How are the lawyer's fees structured - hourly or flat fee? Can the lawyer estimate the cost of your case?

- Is the lawyer's office conveniently located?

Not sure what questions to ask a lawyer?

Here are a few to get you started:

  • How long have you been in practice?
  • How many cases like mine have you handled?
  • How often do you settle cases out of court?
  • What are your fees and costs?
  • What are the next steps?

Want to check lawyer discipline?

It is always a good idea to research your lawyer prior to hiring. Every state has a disciplinary organization that monitors attorneys, their licenses, and consumer complaints. By researching lawyer discipline you can:

  • Ensure the attorney is currently licensed to practice in your state
  • Gain an understanding of his or her historical disciplinary record, if any.
  • Determine the seriousness of complaints/issues which could range from late bar fees to more serious issues requiring disciplinary action.

Find a Lawyer

More Options