Karen O’Neil

Karen O’Neil is a principal and chair of Kirk & Simas’ Civil Litigation and Employment Law Department. Karen holds over 15 years of employer-side transactional and litigation experience, serving across a diverse range of industries as counsel to the region’s leading large and small scale enterprises. Karen also has extensive experience in the areas of Municipal and Public Agency Law, with a niche emphasis advising and representing public cemetery districts throughout the state.

Karen is a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators and conducts independent workplace investigations. A recognized speaker, Karen presents extensively throughout the central coast at educational and training seminars and employment group conferences on employment law topics as well as at local and state conferences for cemetery districts.

Contact: KONeil@KirkSimas.com
Karen’s Employment Law Blog

Practice Areas

Employment Law
Civil Litigation
Public Agency Law


BS, Political Science, San Diego State University (cum laude)
JD, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (with distinction)

Representative Work

» Successful defense of large agribusiness employer in $1.5M fraud suit and jury trial.
» Establish regional cooperation and information exchange among California public cemetery districts.
» Successful resolution of wage and hour class action lawsuits across multiple industries and clients.
» Co-Chair first high profile case in California brought under the state’s new statute governing union claims against trial courts.

Civic Activities

Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, Board Member (Present)
Santa Maria Human Resources Association, Board Member (Present)
Altrusa Foundation of Santa Maria, Vice President (Present)
Northern Santa Barbara County Bar Association
Community Partners in Caring, Advisory Council Member (Present)