Ben O’Connor is a trial lawyer who brings a wide array of experience in service of Hilliard Martinez Gonzales LLP’s mission of advocating for those who have been harmed and championing their pursuit of justice. He has litigated in state and federal trial and appellate courts throughout the country and is experienced and comfortable in every stage and every aspect of litigation, from complaint through trial or even appeal. His practice includes mass tort personal injury litigation, prosecution of federal False Claims Act cases on behalf of qui tam relators, professional malpractice cases, and general commercial litigation. He has been recognized by his peers as a Rising Star in personal injury litigation in Illinois, a distinction earned by no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state, and as a Best Lawyers One To Watch in both plaintiffs’ personal injury litigation and commercial litigation.

Ben’s notable cases and results include:

·         Trial counsel for Nueces County, Texas in dispute with multi-national insurance carriers and underwriters where defendants refused to pay for damage to county buildings sustained during Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane. Helped to obtain a $20 million settlement on behalf of Nueces County.

·         Trial counsel for thousands of plaintiffs who have alleged kidney and bone injuries from ingesting HIV drugs manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc.

·         Counsel for plaintiffs alleging injuries stemming from a crowd surge at the Astroworld music festival in Houston, Texas in November 2021.

·         Counsel for multiple qui tam relators bringing False Claims Act cases for Medicare and Medicaid fraud on the United States government in federal district courts throughout the United States.

Prior to joining the HMG team in 2020, Ben was an attorney at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, one of the world’s largest law firms. At Kirkland, Ben’s diverse experience included litigating class actions, multi-district personal injury litigation, pharmaceutical litigation, bankruptcy proceedings, and private equity disputes, conducting internal investigations, and serving as a member of a federal court monitor team. Ben also maintained an active pro bono practice, focusing on post-conviction relief for criminal defendants. Ben helped to obtain early releases from prison for multiple clients.

Ben began his law career at the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, serving as a law clerk for the Honorable William J. Bauer, former Chief Judge of the Seventh Circuit, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and State’s Attorney For DuPage County (Illinois). During law school, Ben was Editor-in-Chief of The John Marshall Law Review, worked for multiple litigation firms in Chicago, and externed for Judge Amy J. St. Eve (now on the Seventh Circuit) on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Born and raised in Chicagoland, Ben resides in the northern suburbs of Chicago with his wife and three children. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Foundation For Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST), a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research for treating Angelman syndrome, a rare neurogenetic disorder causing developmental delays, intellectual disability, severe speech impairment, and movement and balance difficulties. Ben’s son, Ryan, has Angelman syndrome.

Ben is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Illinois, and is also admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.


Bar and Court Admissions
  • Illinois State Bar, 2015
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • JD 2015, University of Illinois – Chicago John Marshall Law School, Chicago, IL (Editor-in-Chief, The John Marshall Law Review)
  • MA 2018, Historical Theology, St. Louis, MO
  • BA 2005, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
Professional Associations and Accolades
  • Recognized as a Best Lawyers® Ones to Watch for 2021, 2022 and 2023
Prior Experience
  • Kirkland & Ellis LLP: September 2016–October 2020
  • Law Clerk, The Hon. William J. Bauer, United States Court of Appeals For The Seventh Circuit
  • Judicial Extern, The Hon. Amy J. St. Eve, United States Court of Appeals For The Seventh Circuit (then judge for the United States District Court For The Northern District of Illinois)
  • Teacher and Football Coach, Loyola Academy, Wilmette, IL