James E. O'Connell, trial lawyer and partner at Berman & Simmons
James E. O'Connell, trial lawyer and partner at Berman & Simmons
James E. O'Connell, trial lawyer and partner at Berman & Simmons

James E. O'Connell, III

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Education: 

Tufts University, 1992
Northeastern University School of Law, 1997

Attorney Jim O’Connell specializes in personal injury law. He represents Mainers who have been seriously harmed by negligent conduct, professional malpractice, defective products, and business torts.

Since joining Berman & Simmons in 2007, Jim has emerged as one of the top trial lawyers in Maine. His approach to handling and resolving cases―using a balance of patience, compassion, aggression, and collaboration―delivers exceptional results. Jim has successfully negotiated hundreds of settlements and has won numerous jury trial verdicts throughout the state, including some very public catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases.

A former athlete, Jim is a natural competitor. He has dedicated his career to standing up to individuals and corporations that abuse power at the expense of others. Before joining Berman & Simmons, he litigated and tried complex civil and criminal matters at a major Boston law firm and as an Assistant Attorney General in the Public Corruption Division of the Criminal Bureau.

While some lawyers are combative, Jim uses a different approach. He works with opposing lawyers and insurance companies to help them appreciate the significance of his clients’ injuries and the impact on their lives, paving the way to a fair settlement. If that doesn’t work, Jim and his team are ready and able to push cases to trial.

“Being in the courtroom and in front of a jury is my favorite part of the job. In every case, everything I do is in preparation for that moment,” Jim says. “I truly enjoy getting to know my clients, gaining their trust, and standing with them to make sure they are listened to and treated fairly. It is gratifying to be in their     corner, because oftentimes we are the only ones there.”

Jim gives much credit for his success to the paralegals, legal assistants, and other support staff at Berman & Simmons. He is also grateful for the wisdom and collaboration of the other attorneys at the firm.

Memberships, Distinctions, and Community Service

  • Chair, Maine State Bar Association, Litigation Section, 2016–2017; Treasurer, Litigation Section, 2015–present
  • Board of Governors, Maine Trial Lawyers Association, 2016–present
  • American Association for Justice, 2007–present
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, 2011–present
  • Annual guest speaker, University of Maine School of Law class: “The Business of Managing a Law Practice”
  • Judge for Maine’s high school and University of Maine School of Law annual mock trial and moot appellate court competitions
  • Volunteer, Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, handling Protection from Abuse cases in Lewiston District Court, 2016–present
  • Board of Directors, Casco Bay Youth Hockey Association, 2009–2013

Recognitions                                                                                            

  • Benchmark Litigation ― “Litigation Star”
  • AVVO ― Rated 10.0 out of 10                                                                                          

Published Articles and Select Presentations

  • Enough Already? Evidence Necessary to Prove Causation in a Personal Injury Case, Maine Trial Lawyers Association Fall Seminar, November 2016
  • Lien on Me: The Case Ain’t Over Till It’s Over: Managing Litigation/Subrogation Liens and Claims to Conclusion, hosted by the John Waldo Ballou Inn of Court, 2016
  • Family BBQ Gone Awry: Investigating, Litigating, and Mediating an Interesting Product Liability Case, Maine State Bar Association Annual Meeting, 2016
  • Moderator, Maine State Bar Association Bench-Bar Conference, 2015
  • The Ultimate Litigation Seminar: Fundamentals to Advanced, Maine State Bar Association Annual Meeting, 2015
  • The Use of Focus Groups for Trial Strategy and Settlement Value in Civil Litigation, Maine State Bar Association Annual Meeting, 2014
  • Decaying Trees, Hazards Overhead, IN BRIEF (Berman & Simmons, Lewiston, Me.), Fall 2013
  • Overcoming Bias Against Injured Motorcyclists, IN BRIEF (Berman & Simmons, Lewiston, Me.), Fall 2012
  • Have no Fear…of Attachments, IN BRIEF (Berman & Simmons, Lewiston, Me.), Summer 2012
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Jim O'Connell
Attorney Jim O'Connell explains how his team's work against an insurance company resulted in a large award for a woman who badly injured her back.
Admitted to Bars: 
  • All Maine Courts (2007)
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maine (1997)
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (1997)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit (1997)

News

BANGOR, Maine, Oct. 27, 2016 – A judge has awarded $729,845 in damages to a seasonal blueberry farmworker who nearly died of heat stroke while on the...

Law Articles

James E. O'Connell, trial lawyer and partner at Berman & Simmons

Maine is a beautiful place to ride motorcycles. With summer upon us and the increasing number of motorcyclists on our roads, there inevitably will be accidents resulting in serious injuries. Lawyers who represent motorcyclists must remember that...

James E. O'Connell, trial lawyer and partner at Berman & Simmons

For every lawyer consulting with an injured client, the key case evaluation questions are (1) how strong is the liability claim, (2) what is the value of the case, and (3) how can I collect the most money for my client. In a serious injury case...