Lawrence O’Neill

Senior United States District Judge (Inactive)


Senior Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill served as a United States District Judge in the Eastern District of California from February, 2007 until February, 2020. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate. He was named the Chief Judge of the Eastern District of California in May, 2016, where he administered a district that encompasses 34 of the 58 counties in the State of California, covering 87,010 square miles. He presided over 28 Federal Judges (District, Magistrate and Bankruptcy).

Prior to that, he was a United States Magistrate Judge for 8 years, and prior to that served as a California State Superior Court Judge for 9 years, where he served 2 of those years as the Presiding Judge of the Court, 2 years as the Assistant Presiding Judge, 3 years as the Presiding Judge of the Appellate Division, and 2 years as Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Division of the Court. While in the private practice of law, he was a civil trial attorney for 10 years, trying 50 jury trials to verdict. Prior to his law school years, he was a San Leandro Police Officer for 3 years in the Patrol Division.

Judge O’Neill has presided over more than 600 trials during his 30 years as a trial judge.

He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology from the University of California at Berkeley, his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, and his Law Degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law where he was President and graduation speaker of his class of 500 law students.

Judge O’Neill has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law, teaching courses in Civil Trial Practice and Juvenile Law. Thereafter, he taught classes in Introductory Constitutional Law to junior high and high school students annually. He has taught classes for newly-appointed State of California judges, and has participated in continuing education courses for Federal Judges throughout the Nation. He was also an active community speaker on subjects relating to State and Federal Courts.

Judge O’Neill and his wife of 41 years have two adult children, two children-in-law, and three perfect grandchildren.

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