Penelope B. O’Connell


Offices: Philadelphia | Princeton | Wilmington

Direct: 215-461-3303

Fax: 215-461-3311

  • Professional Overview

    Penny is a Partner in the firm’s Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware offices, where she appears in state and federal courts defending clients against a variety of claims, including institutional sex abuse, sex trafficking, professional liability, premises liability, and wrongful termination. Penny has extensive trial-related experience including:

    • Defending schools, parishes, non-profit organizations, and religious orders against decades-old claims of child sexual abuse. Penny sat second chair for the nine-week John Vai v. St. Elizabeth School trial in Dover, Delaware, and the well-known James Sheehan v. Oblates of St. Francis de Sales trial in Wilmington, Delaware in 2009.
    • Defending hotels and motels against claims related to sex trafficking in the hospitality industry.
    • Defending nursing homes, long-term care facilities, outpatient drug and alcohol rehab centers, and other skilled care facilities against allegations of professional negligence.
    • Defending public and private employers against claims of workplace discrimination and wrongful termination.
    • Defending and advising clients in matters involving banking and financial torts, contract construction and disputes, premises liability, toxic torts, bodily injury, and property damage.

    In addition to her considerable experience with discovery and motion practice, Penny has negotiated the resolution of numerous cases to her clients’ satisfaction.  She is also a Delaware-certified mediator.

    Penny has spent decades in the Mid-Atlantic region.  Prior to her career as an attorney, Penny taught English literature and served as assistant to the president at Cabrini University, worked as an information systems analyst and assistant buyer at Kaufmann’s Department Stores (a division of the May Company), and lectured in English at the University of Connecticut during graduate school.

    During law school, Penny served a judicial externship with the Honorable Dolores K. Sloviter in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Penny was also the recipient of the Harvey Alan Chernoff Scholarship for Excellence in Constitutional Law, having earned certificates of achievement in Constitutional Law courses. In 2003-2005, she served on the Widener Law Review, for which she was External Managing Editor in 2004-2005.

    Penny is proud to call South Philadelphia home.  In her free time, Penny enjoys exploring her city, hitting local golf courses, and traveling.  She is an advocate for animal welfare issues and is a former member of the Board of Directors of Faithful Friends, Delaware’s premier no-kill animal shelter.

  • Practice Areas
  • Education and Admissions


    • Seton Hill College, B.A. 1990
    • University of Connecticut, M.A. 1992
    • Widener University School of Law, J.D. 2005


    • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 2005
    • Supreme Court of New Jersey, 2005
    • Supreme Court of Delaware, 2006
    • United States District Court for the District of Delaware, 2006
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 2007
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2010
    • United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, 2021
    • United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

    States Licensed

    • Delaware
    • New Jersey
    • Pennsylvania
  • Professional Organization Memberships
    • Pennsylvania Bar Association
    • Delaware Bar Association
  • News, Honors, Publications & Speeches
    • Elliott v. Archdiocese of New York, 682 F.3d 213 (3d Cir. 2012)
    • McClain v. Citizen’s Bank, N.A., 57 F. Supp. 3d 438 (E.D. Pa. 2014)
    • Marin v. Comerica Inc., No. CV 12-976-LPS, 2014 WL 3974871 (D. Del. Aug. 8, 2014)
    • Thompson v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, 735 F. Supp. 2d 121 (D. Del. 2010)
    • Eureka Res., LLC v. Range Res.-Appalachia, LLC, 62 A.3d 1233 (Del. Super. Ct. 2012)
    • Sheehan v. Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, 15 A.3d 1247 (Del. 2011)