Professor Timothy O’Neill to Focus on Technology, Privacy as 2014-2015 Lee Chair in Constitutional Law


Professor Timothy O’Neill will research how technology affects which searches and seizures are reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, during his yearlong tenure as the 2014-2015 Edward T. and Noble W. Lee Chair in Constitutional Law.

“How courts deal with subjects such as Internet privacy, searches of smartphones, and the increased use of cameras in public will be of great importance in the coming decade,” O’Neill said. “The Lee Chair will provide a wonderful opportunity to do work in this area.” He will have a reduced teaching load.

Edward T. Lee and his son, Noble W. Lee, collectively served The John Marshall Law School for 90 years, leading the school as deans for 65 of those years. The Lee Chair in Constitutional Law was established in 2010 to honor their contributions to the law school and the legal profession, and their shared interest in constitutional law.

A respected faculty member, O’Neill has been voted Favorite Professor numerous times, and was selected one of the “10 of the Best Law Professors in Illinois” by Chicago Lawyer Magazine. He has been a member of the faculty for more than 30 years. The law school recognized his outstanding work with the Scholarly Achievement Award presented in 2009.

For the last 20 years, he has published a monthly column on criminal law in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. For this work, the Chicago Bar Association in 2012 presented O’Neill with its Herman Kogan Meritorious Achievement Award in the category of print journalism. The Chicago Society of Professional Journalists also named him a Finalist for the 2010 Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism in the area of Commentary.

O’Neill has published more than 25 law review articles in the areas of constitutional and criminal law. His scholarship has been cited in more than 50 federal and state appellate court decisions. A law review article he wrote on the Supreme Court appointment process was discussed in a front-page story in The New York Times in 2009.

His scholarship was instrumental in the Illinois Legislature’s decision to introduce degrees of murder in the state. He co-authored the revision to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules that first mandated the use of standards of review in all appellate briefs. At the request of the Illinois Supreme Court, he served for 10 years as the Reporter to the Illinois Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases. His pro bono work in state and federal appellate courts has included obtaining clemency for a woman on Illinois’ Death Row, as well as writing amicus briefs for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and for the Illinois Attorneys for Criminal Justice.

O’Neill is a regular commentator on state and national legal affairs. His opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and He has provided commentary for articles appearing in The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. He has been interviewed on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

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