• Share
  • Email
  • Print

Stephen J. O'Neil

Senior Counsel
Fax +1.312.827.8144

Stephen J. O’Neil is an experienced trial lawyer with extensive jury and bench trial experience in federal and state courts, as well as significant arbitration trial experience in dozens of high-stakes arbitrations. He has tried cases arising out of contract and commercial disputes, corporate acquisitions and divestitures, false advertising, trade secret and unfair competition claims, and professional negligence. He has also served as lead counsel in major securities litigation and class action matters. He has represented small businesses as well as some of the nation’s most prominent Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies. In addition to his experience as an advocate in arbitration matters, Mr. O’Neil also frequently serves as a neutral arbitrator.

Mr. O’Neil’s commercial litigation and arbitration practice has spanned several industries, including food and consumer product manufacturing, healthcare and investment management. In the area of securities and fiduciary duty litigation, Mr. O’Neil has represented issuers, investment advisers, collateral managers, officers, directors and trustees. He has litigated securities claims arising out of public filings, M&A transactions, collateralized debt obligations and investment advisory fees.

Mr. O’Neil is a member of the American Arbitration Association Commercial Panel of Arbitrators and has presided over many complex commercial arbitrations.

Professional Background

Mr. O’Neil was a partner at Bell, Boyd & Lloyd LLP from 1988 to the 2009 combination with K&L Gates. He served on Bell Boyd’s Executive Committee at the time of the combination and served as the administrative partner for the litigation department for many years prior to the combination.


  • Selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer in the area of business litigation in 2007, 2009, 2013 - 2017

Professional/Civic Activities

  • AAA Commercial Panel of Arbitrators (Member)
  • CPR Distinguished Panel of Neutrals (Member)
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • American Bar Association (Sections of Litigation and Trial Practice)

Speaking Engagements

  • “Developments in Investment Management Litigation,” K&L Gates Chicago Investment Management Conference, Fall 2012-2016
  • “Strategies for Winning Arbitrations,” Bell, Boyd & Lloyd MCLE, January 2009
  • “Liability Implications of the Subprime Mortgage Crisis,” Corporate Counsel Forum, May 2008 
  • “Attorney-Client Privilege,” Bell, Boyd & Lloyd MCLE, July 2007
  • Substantial first chair jury trial and arbitration experience including seven and eight figure awards for claimants in arbitration and several verdicts and/or awards for defendants or respondents in cases with multi-million dollar exposure.
  • Trial experience includes contract, securities, M&A litigation, trade secret, false advertising and professional negligence.
  • Has represented issuers, investment advisers, collateral managers, outside directors, audit committee members and other fiduciaries in securities litigation. Experienced in cases brought under Section 36(b) of the Investment Company Act of 1940.
  • Experienced in merger and acquisition litigation and arbitration, including pre-closing disputes, post-closing adjustment and earn-out cases, and fraud and breach of representation/warranty matters.
  • Experienced in class action litigation, including consumer and securities matters.
  • Lead counsel in a highly publicized 2011 federal court trial in a major Lanham Act false advertising case between the leading competitors in the hot dog market.
  • Representation of major manufacturers as plaintiffs and defendants in contract, warranty, trade secret and other business tort cases.
  • Handled dozens of arbitration matters, both as an advocate and as an arbitrator, including AAA, CPR and CBOE arbitrations. Served as an appointed AAA arbitrator in a wide variety of cases, including post-acquisition disputes, partnership disputes and commercial contract matters.