John O’Neil’s legal knowledge, business savvy, and leadership of complex transactions have earned him a reputation as a global leader in private equity fund matters. John heads the Investment Funds Practice Group, the Firm’s leading-edge global platform that provides innovative and bespoke legal strategies to sponsors and funds of all kinds. John is also a member of the Firm's global Management Committee.
John has been recognized by Chambers Global, Chambers USA, IFLR 1000, Legal 500, and Who’s Who Legal where he was described as a “‘phenomenal lawyer,’ acknowledged for his strong track record representing large sponsors” and being “extremely smart and creative”. Founders look to John as a valued business partner and a global thought leader on identifying market trends, creating and executing plans across AUM, product line and geographical expansion.
As the advisor of choice of some of the world’s most sophisticated and dynamic investment funds, John has guided clients for over two decades through a myriad of operational issues as well as extraordinary events involving private investment funds and their sponsors. His breadth of experience includes helping clients successfully navigate “key person” events, investor defaults, spin-outs, and other significant transactions. John is a founding member of the Firm’s Private Funds Crisis Management Group, which guides investment fund sponsors, advisory boards, and other market participants through some of their most challenging situations.
John’s long-standing industry relationships and deep understanding of the investment funds landscape are game-changers for the Firm’s clients. Who’s Who Legal notes that he “has one of the broadest, best understandings of what is happening in the market.” John is a founding member of the New York City Investment Funds Society, which regularly convenes the leading American lawyers who advise sponsors. He is an in-demand speaker on the private investment industry, addressing audiences at the International Bar Association conference, New York Private Equity Network, and the New York City Bar Center for CLE.
John received his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is admitted in New York, Massachusetts and Illinois.
50 South Capital, Audax Group, Basin Oil & Gas, Blue Sage Capital, Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co., Caltius Capital Management, CHS Capital, Clearlake Capital Group, ClearLight Partners, Coller Capital, Coral Reef Capital, Dunes Point Capital, Fundtech Holdings, GI Partners, GLP, Greenbriar Equity Group, GTCR, H.I.G. Capital, HighBridge Equity Partners, Kinderhook Capital, Lake Partners, Landmark Partners, Newstone Capital Partners, Macquarie, Old Ironsides Energy, Paul Capital Partners, Pegasus Partners, Perceptive Advisors, Periphas Capital, Rhône Capital, Round Hill Music, Siris Capital Group, SK Capital, Softbank, Summit Partners, Sycamore Partners, TeleSoft Partners, Triton, TZP Capital Partners, Varsity Management Company, Veritas Capital, Vestar Capital Partners, Vista Equity Partners, Water Street Healthcare Partners, White Oak Global Advisors, Wind Point Partners and Wynnchurch Capital, York Capital Management.
John speaks frequently on matters relating to private investment funds. Select recent public speaking engagements include:
- Panelist, Thomson Reuters, The 34th Annual Federal Securities Institute, February 2016
- Panelist, General Partner Succession Planning, Kellogg Private Equity And Venture Capital Conference, April 2015
- Speaker, PEAI Private Equity CFO/COO Exchange & Roundtable, December 2014
- Speaker, New York Private Equity Network, Private Equity GP / LP Fund Terms, July 2013
- Speaker, Practising Law Institute’s 14th Annual Private Equity Forum, July 2013
- Speaker, International Bar Association’s 14th Annual International Conference on Private Investment Funds, March 2013
- Speaker, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Registered Adviser Seminar & CCO Summit, November 2012
- Speaker, Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York, Private Equity Allocation in an Uncertain Economy, July 2012
- Speaker, Private Equity CFO Association, General Partner Structuring (Succession Planning, Division of Economics and Tax Considerations), May 2012
- Panelist, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, 2011 Structuring and Negotiating LBOs Seminar, September 2011
- Speaker, New York Private Equity Network, Private Equity GP / LP Fund Terms, June 2011
- Panelist, Maples and Calder, Maples FS, 3rd Maples Investment Funds Forum, February 2011
- Speaker, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Private Fund Manager Advisers Act Registration Seminar, September 2010
- Speaker, New York City Bar Center for CLE, After the Dust Settles: The Changing Landscape for Private Investment Funds & Their Managers, June 2010
- Speaker, International Bar Association’s 21st Annual Conference on the Globalisation of Investment Funds, May 2010
- Speaker, New York City Bar Center for CLE, The Impact of the Current Environment on Private Investment Funds & Their Managers, November 2009
- Moderator, CFA Society of Washington and Wharton Private Equity Partners LP/GP Roundtable, September 2009
- Moderator, Duke Private Equity Club 2009 PE Conference, April 2009
Kirkland & Ellis Pro Bono Service Recipient
The Best Lawyers in America 2019, in Private Funds / Hedge Funds Law
“Market Leader,” IFLR1000
“World’s Leading Lawyers for Business,” Chambers Global
“America’s Leading Lawyers for Business,” Chambers USA
“Guide to the World’s Leading Investment Funds Lawyers,” Legal Media Group
“Who’s Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Private Funds Lawyers,” Law Business Research Ltd.
“Leading Lawyer,” The Legal 500 United States
Memberships & Affiliations
Member of National Board for Susan G. Komen
Member of the Private Investment Funds Forum, a group comprising New York City attorneys practicing extensively in the private funds area
Member of the Committee on Private Investment Funds of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York
International Bar Association, Investment Funds Sub-Committee
Member, Global Management Executive Committee
Admissions & Qualifications
- New York
- United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit1998
- Northwestern Pritzker School of LawJ.D.cum laude1998
- University of Wisconsin-MadisonB.B.A., Management Information Systems1991