Joseph J. O'Hara, Jr.

Of Counsel ( Chicago )

Direct 312.471.8790 Fax 312.471.8701 LinkedIn


Joe O’Hara runs towards the challenges of life. The oldest son in a large family of modest means from the South Side of Chicago, he has worked hard to create every opportunity he has had, and has made the most of them.

Joe spent the first part of his legal career mastering the challenge of trial work, handling everything from complex commercial disputes to serious 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 a mass tort problem that had literally bankrupted scores of its co-defendants. The energy, resilience, and creativity that Joe brought to this second phase of his career generated terrific results that were directly aligned with the client’s strategic priorities, and the recognition of his skills resulted in his appointment as the company’s secretary where he led corporate governance and facilitated the interface between senior management and the Board of Directors.

Now Joe has launched the next phase of his career, again focusing his skills as a trial lawyer and a complex litigation manager on achieving client goals. Having spent over a decade as a consumer of outside legal services, he understands what a client needs and, just as importantly, neither needs nor wants. He delivers no-nonsense, principled, and practical legal advice designed to generate success as the client defines it. When a case can only be resolved in the well of a courtroom, however, he remains a fearless advocate ready and able to fight for his clients. His trial work at RSHC will be wide-ranging, but will emphasize the representation of clients who have been wrongfully convicted and who seek justice in the criminal and civil courts.



Northwestern University 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

Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
Past 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, 2018-2019)

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

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

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