Joseph J. O'Hara Jr.

Of Counsel ( Chicago )

Direct 312.471.8790 LinkedIn


Joe O’Hara spent the first part of his legal career mastering the challenge of trial work, handling everything from complex commercial disputes to catastrophic personal injury cases to unconstitutional conditions in a now closed jail. His trial work took him across the country, and his record of success on behalf of his clients was extraordinary—so extraordinary, in fact, that a major client recruited him to come in house to create and implement a nationwide strategy to manage company-threatening litigation for almost a dozen years.

In 2018, Joe launched the next phase of his career, again focusing his skills as a trial lawyer and a complex litigation manager on a new set of goals. His work at RSHC emphasizes the representation of clients who have been wrongfully convicted and who seek justice in the criminal and civil courts. This is an area where RSHC has already developed substantial experience and achieved remarkable success. Joe both leads and advises teams seeking to free those who have been wrongfully incarcerated and to compensate them for devastating violations of their constitutional rights.




Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, J.D., 1981, Editorial Board, Northwestern University Law Review

Marquette University, B.S., 1975

Bar Admissions

New York
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Professional Memberships

Former Member of Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
Former Member of the Board of Directors
Former Executive Editor, IDC Quarterly

Past Teaching Appointments

Faculty Member, Illinois Defense Counsel (IDC) Trial Academy

Honors & Awards

Illinois Leading Lawyer
Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers (2003-2005, 2008-2015, 2018-2024)

RSHC Pro Bono Award (2023)

Illinois Super Lawyers
Thomson Reuters
(2005-2009, 2011-2012, 2014-2017, 2019-2024)

2016 Irish Legal 100

The Best Lawyers in America
Best Lawyers® (Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions-Defendants, 2007-2016)

2014 Chicago Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions-Defendants “Lawyer of the Year”
Best Lawyers®

Publications & Presentations

National In-House Roundtable, (panelist) Defense Asbestos Litigation Seminar 2015, Las Vegas, NV (June 3-5, 2015)
“Financial & Legal Decisions, Managing Claims, Defense Costs, Controlling Costs to Resolve Claims, Settlement Negotiations and More,” (panelist) 17th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, American Conference Institute, Chicago, IL (June 26, 2014)
“Corporate Counsel Roundtable:  What We Really Expect From A Defense Lawyer In The Asbestosis, Mesothelioma Or Lung Cancer Case,” (panelist) Defense Asbestos Litigation Seminar 2014, Las Vegas, NV (June 4-6, 2014)
“Views from the Bench: Judges Speak Out on Current Litigation Trends, Successful Plaintiff Claims and Defense Strategies,” (judicial panel commentator and moderator) ACI Asbestos Claims & Litigation, Philadelphia, PA (Jan. 31, 2013)
“Corporate Roundtable: Today's Asbestos Litigation Environment,” Asbestos Litigation Conference:  A National Overview Outlook, (panelist) San Francisco, CA (September 10, 2012)
“What the 'Year in Asbestos Litigation' Means for You, Your Client and Your Company,“ ACI's 12th National Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, (panelist) Philadelphia, PA (January 26-27, 2012)
Corporate Counsel Discussion Regarding “Problem Jurisdictions,” Defense Research Institute Asbestos Medicine Seminar, (panelist) Las Vegas, NV (November 10-11, 2011)

Community Service

Civic and Charitable Memberships

Chamber Music Festival of Saugatuck, MI
President (2023 - 2024)

St. Luke’s Hospital (Maumee, OH), Former Member of Board of Directors
Executive Committee
Finance Committee

Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Former Member of Board of Directors
Executive Committee
Orchestra Relations Committee
Chair of Music Director Search Committee