January 17, 2018
Chancellor Mary F. Platt on the Passing of Former Chancellor Hon. Thomas N. O’Neill Jr.
Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Mary F. Platt today issued the following statement on the passing of former Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor, Hon. Thomas N. O’Neill Jr.:
“I am deeply saddened by the news of Judge O’Neill’s passing. He was a friend, mentor and former colleague of mine. He will always be remembered for his brilliance as a lawyer and judge, his respect for litigants and counsel who appeared before him, his humility, his kind and caring nature and concern for others, and his dedication to public service.
“In 1976, Judge O’Neill served as Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Under his leadership, the Association focused on the selection of members of the judiciary and their performance on the bench; access to justice and increased support of legal services; and an uptick in the Lawyer Reference Service program (now known as our Lawyer Referral & Information Service). Throughout his career in private practice, he was dedicated to the work of our Association and remained an active and distinguished member of our Association after he moved to the bench.
“After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, he was a law clerk for former Judge Herbert Goodrich of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1953 to 1954, and for Justice Harold Burton of the United States Supreme Court from 1954 to 1955. From 1955 to 1956, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics.
“Before becoming a judge, he was a partner and chair of the Litigation Department at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP, where he worked from 1956 to 1983.
“In 1983, he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the United States Senate to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where he presided as a Senior Judge at the time of his passing.
“Judge O’Neill was a beloved and respected judge in our legal community who made significant contributions to the cause of justice. He will be truly missed.”