Since retiring from the Superior Court in 2005, Judge O’Brien has served as a neutral mediator in more than 600 cases, and has presided over 50 arbitrations and private trials and 20 discovery references.
- 1987 – 2005 Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge
- 2004 – 2005 Assigned exclusively to mandatory settlement conferences
- 1995 – 2005 Central Civil Trials, Los Angeles
- 1994 – 1995 Supervising Judge, East District
- 1985 – 1987 Citrus Municipal Court
- 1987 Presiding Judge, Citrus Court
- Mandatory Settlement Department, Los Angeles Superior Court
- Judge O’Brien was selected as a Settlement Judge based on his extensive judicial experience, intelligence and personable demeanor. In this capacity he settled hundreds of cases ranging from thousands to millions of dollars in a wide variety of practice areas achieving an impressive settlement rate and party satisfaction.
- In-House Counsel, Southern California Edison Company
- Judge O’Brien represented Edison before the South Coast Air Quality Management District, California Public Utilities Commission, California Air Resources Board, California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He served as lead counsel in the certification proceedings for the Balsam Meadow Hydroelectric Pump- Storage Power Plant, as well as three related lawsuits filed in state court.
- Deputy, Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office
- Four years specializing in land use environmental matters, including dozens of eminent domain cases and writ proceedings. He authored dozens of official City Attorney Opinions and tried cases involving CEQA compliance, planning and zoning decisions, and the issuance of subdivision maps. For two years he represented the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in air quality and other environmental state and federal regulatory proceedings, primarily before the California Energy Commission and California Air Resources Board. Tried and argued civil cases at every level of state and federal trial and appellate courts, except the United States Supreme Court.
Judge O’Brien’s numerous articles have been published in (alphabetically) the CEB Civil Litigation Reporter, Gavel to Gavel, Journal of the California Dental Association, Judicature, the Loyola Law Review, the Metropolitan News-Enterprise, National Review, The Bench, The Glendoran, the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and the San Pedro News-Pilot. He is also a current member of the Board of Editors of The Bench.
Judge O’Brien has been a guest law school lecturer at Loyola Law School, Pepperdine University Law School and Whittier Law School. He has also served as a lecturer, moderator and/or panelist at continuing education programs of the California Judges Association, the California Center for Judicial Education and Research, the Los Angeles Superior Court, the Trial Practice Inn of Court of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the East Valley Bar Association, the law firm of Snell and Wilmer, the Southern California Mediation Association and the USC Law School Alumni Association.
Other Public Service
Judge O’Brien has served as a member and vice chair of the Finance Advisory Committee of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, and as a member of the RDA Dissolution Oversight Board of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. He has also served a three-year term on the ADR Committee of the California State Bar Association, and served for five years on the ADR Committee of the California Judges Association (CJA). He was CJA president 2002-03.
Judge O’Brien is a Rotarian and was elected to serve as District Governor of Rotary District 5280 in 2016-17. In 2013, he led a Rotary Vocational Training Team to Istanbul, Turkey to attend the Sixth Annual Congress of Mediators Beyond Borders.
- 1987 Alumnus of the Year, Whittier Law School
- 2005 Recipient, “Civility Award,” Los Angeles Chapter of ABOTA
- 2009 Honorary Doctor of Laws, Whittier Law School
- 1972 J.D., Whittier Law School
- 1968 B.A, USC School of Journalism