Profiles in Public Law: An Interview With Dennis D. O’Neil
By Leonie Mulvihill*
Editor’s Note: The following profile is the third installment of the Public Law Journal’s occasional series of interviews with public lawyers who have made impacts in California public law.
Attorney Dennis O’Neil has represented Orange County Clients in a dynamic career that spans nearly 50 years. Mr. O’Neil received his B.A. degree from the University of Southern California and his J.D. degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. He served as the Assistant City Attorney and then City Attorney for the City of Newport Beach from 1969-1979. He was elected to two terms on the Newport Beach City Council from 1994-2002 and served as Mayor in 1999. Mr. O’Neil was named the Newport Beach Citizen of the Year for 2006. During Mr. O’Neil’s long practice in municipal and land use law, he saw Orange County grow from a rural, agricultural community to the metropolis it is today. His work in negotiating, documenting, and obtaining agreements and permits paved the way for a reliable source of water for Newport Beach, annexation of Newport Coast to the City, modernization of John Wayne Airport with the limitations necessary to protect adjacent communities, and other far-reaching projects. He is interviewed by Leonie Mulvihill, a successor to O’Neil as assistant city attorney.
Mulvihill: How has the public agency practice evolved since you started?