Colorado trial lawyer and longtime leader and mentor of Snell & Wilmer, Timothy O’Neill, died unexpectedly at age 62 Dec. 19.
“Tim was a lawyer’s lawyer, respected by his peers and judges for his strong and professional advocacy skills. He was a leader in our firm and a great mentor to many. Most importantly, he was devoted first to his family. Tim will be deeply missed,” said Matthew P. Feeney, firm chair.
According to his obituary, O’Neill is survived by his wife, Monique, and his three children, Chelsea, Quinn and Abigail.
O’Neill received his J.D. with honors and his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. Joining Snell & Wilmer in 1985, he was the first managing partner in the firm’s Denver office and an executive committee member from 2000 to 2016. Nathan Davis, who was the first associate O’Neill hired when the office was first starting, said O’Neill built the firm’s Denver office from the ground up.
“He grew our office from just a handful of lawyers … into an established office in a competitive city,” Davis said. “He did that with his leadership and hard work over the course of a really long time … He didn’t inherit anything here in Denver — he created it. ”
A senior partner in the products liability litigation practice group, O’Neill had vast experience in probate and trust litigation, complex business litigation, commercial disputes and major product liability tort litigation. O’Neill represented corporate defendants as both regional and national trial counsel and had jury trial experience in courts across the country.
“To Tim, above all else, being a trial lawyer was truly the highest calling for a lawyer,” Davis said. “And he took great pride in being a trial lawyer and dedication to his craft.”
O’Neill was a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers since 2009, where he served on the Colorado state committee from 2014 to 2018 and the jury committee from 2018 to 2020. He was also recognized by The Best Lawyers in America, Colorado Super Lawyers, among other recognitions, for his work in litigation.
O’Neill was also active in his community. He served on the legal advisory board for the Colorado Civil Justice League, mentored in the Colorado Attorney Mentor Program and volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver.
“He was a good guy, a good person in just so many different ways. He was honest and fair and very loyal to his partners and his friends in the firm, and he truly just was a stand-up guy,” Davis said. “He’s revered as a truly exceptional trial lawyer. He helped develop our firm’s presence in this market … and [was] just highly respected by all of his colleagues.”