John O’Neill is a partner in Pillsbury’s Energy practice and a member of the law firm’s board. He concentrates on energy, environmental, and public utility law. Mr. O’Neill represents electric utilities and companies in the nuclear industry in major commercial transactions, regulatory proceedings, and dispute resolution matters. He has an established commercial law practice and extensive experience in domestic and international transactions involving the acquisition and sale of power plants, major plant components, nuclear fuel, and services. Mr. O’Neill has represented both sellers and buyers in transactions involving the acquisition of nuclear power plants and was lead counsel in the acquisition of the Seabrook, Duane Arnold, and Point Beach nuclear plants. He is representing clients in investment in and financing of new reactor projects. He has represented foreign governments and international clients on major nuclear procurements and nuclear regulatory matters, and has advised a foreign government on restructuring its electric utility sector in response to legislation mandating deregulation and competition.
Mr. O'Neill's representation of utility and other clients before administrative agencies, such as the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the US Department of Energy, and various state regulatory bodies, generally involves licensing, rulemaking, enforcement actions, or utility rate proceedings involving power plants. He has served as lead licensing counsel in obtaining NRC operating licenses, major license amendments, license transfers, and enforcement actions. Currently he is lead partner representing a number of new reactor projects before the NRC. Mr. O'Neill's practice includes dispute resolution in federal and state courts and before domestic and foreign arbitral tribunals. He has served as lead counsel in a major jury trial in federal court, cases in the Court of Federal Claims, an International Chamber of Commerce arbitration, and successful mediations of significant disputes.
After graduation from the US Naval Academy with distinction in 1968, Mr. O'Neill completed graduate work in nuclear engineering as part of the US Navy nuclear power training program, designed and supervised by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover. Prior to practicing law, Mr. O'Neill was an officer in the US Navy serving on nuclear submarines. He was licensed by the Atomic Energy Commission to supervise the operation and maintenance of naval nuclear propulsion power plants.
- Chambers USA, Energy: Nuclear-Regulatory—National (2005-2016)
- Chambers Global, Energy: Nuclear-Regulatory & Litigation—USA (2007-2015)
- Legal 500 US, Energy—Regulatory (2015)
- Best of the Best USA, Energy & Natural Resources, Euromoney/Legal Media Group (2008, 2010)
- Guide to the World's Leading Energy and Natural Resources Lawyers, Euromoney/Legal Media Group (2007)
International Bar Association; International Nuclear Law Association; U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, Trustee
U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Federal and Third Circuits, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Court of Appeals of Maryland, District of Columbia Court of Appeals