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

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 cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.

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’s 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, 2015–2015
  • Board of Governors, Maine Trial Lawyers Association, 2016–present
  • American Association for Justice, 2008–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

  • 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, 2013
  • Overcoming Bias Against Injured Motorcyclists, In Brief, 2012
  • Have no Fear…of Attachments, In Brief, 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
  • U.S. District Court, Districts of Maine and Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit

News

Four lawyers from the Berman & Simmons law firm gave presentations at the annual meeting of the Maine State Bar Association (MSBA) in January, providing insights about...

ROCKLAND, Maine, Nov. 24, 2015 – A motorcyclist from Rockport, Maine, represented by attorney James O'Connell of the Berman & Simmons law firm, was unanimously awarded $155,320 by a jury last week, following a...

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...