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Colleagues say W. Scott O’Connell is a man who makes a difference in life
Gil Bliss -- Union Leader Correspondent -- 1/29/03
Amherst - W. Scott O’Connell was nominated for The Union Leader’s “40 Under Forty” listing by not one, but two of his legal colleagues.
Using the standard of young people “who make a difference to our quality of life,” both a colleague in his law firm of Nixon Peabody LLP and a second Manchester law firm felt O’Connell deserved that designation.
Mary Elizabeth Tenn of Tenn & Tenn cited O’Connell’s “generosity of spirit, which also is the hallmark of Scott’s commitment to New Hampshire. Beyond his involvement in the law, Scott is a community leader,” she wrote.
Nixon Peabody partner James Hood [no relation to our own Bobby Hood] said O’Connell serves both clients and causes with “boundless energy, enthusiasm, creativity and initiative.”
O’Connell “has distinguished himself as a top-notch litigation attorney with a New Hampshire, New England and nationally-based practice and as a committed leader who gives tirelessly of himself for the betterment of our statewide community,” wrote Hood.
A former partner with the Boston firm of Hale & Dorr, O’Connell, wife Susan and their children have been “working our way north.” He currently serves as his firm’s team leader for its financial services and securities litigation practice.
A native of New Jersey, O’Connell met his wife, a Vermont native, when both were students at St. Lawrence University, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in government.
In addition to being a top attorney, O’Connell’s community life is rich and varied. He is vice-chairman for the Farnum Center for Substance Abuse, which is an inpatient drug and alcohol recovery program that is open to all state residents, regardless of their ability to pay.
He also volunteers for the New Hampshire Food Bank, a branch of Catholic Charities and is past president of the New Hampshire Task Force to Prevent Child Abuse. During lunchtime, he can be found teaching an aerobics class at the Manchester YMCA.
O’Connell said the Farnum Center is his major community challenge, as the group is building a new facility. It’s a challenge, he said, because of “the lack of a giving culture here. People have good hearts, but they’re less giving. You have to convince your audience that you’re worthy.”
As his wife runs her own consultant’s firm, finding time to spend with the kids (Brandon, 9, and Catherine, 6) is a priority, so “we split the
day,” O’Connell said, with his wife handling the afternoons and he the mornings.
His job requires him to travel to various Nixon Peabody offices and that makes family time even more precious.
Weekends are paramount for family time, and the quartet tries their best to “escape to Bristol, to Newfound Lake.” he said. They are active outdoors types, enjoying skiing and snowmobiling in the winter and boating in the summer.
One of his other relaxation activities is usually performed by himself.
“I sing while playing six or 12-string acoustic guitar, usually after everyone else in the house has gone to bed - by their demand,” O’Connell said.
Profile of Scott O'Connell:
Birthplace: Harrington Park, N.J.
Family: Wife, Susan Jacobs O’Connell; son, Brandon Tyler O’Connell, 9; and daughter, Catherine Emily O’Connell, 6
High School: Northern Valley Regional High School - Old Tappan, class of 1983.
College/Postgrad degree: St. Lawrence University, B.A. in government; minor in theater arts, 1987; Cornell Law School, J.D. with specialization in advocacy, 1991.
Current job: Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP; team leader of the firm’s national Financial Services and Securities Litigation Practice (manage 14 partners).
Key past positions held: Former partner, Hale and Dorr, Boston, Mass.; past president, New Hampshire Task Force to Prevent Child Abuse.
Volunteer activities: Vice chairman, Farnum Center for Substance Abuse; steering committee on the New Hampshire Bar Foundation Capital Campaign; director, New Hampshire Food Bank; Leadership New Hampshire class of 2002; aerobics instructor at the Greater Manchester YMCA.
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