Kristen Headshot 2022

Kristen O’Connor


Ms. O’Connor is partner in the San Diego office of Johnson Fistel.  Prior to joining the firm, she served as Managing Counsel at a life sciences contract research organization (CRO), where she negotiated clinical trial agreements with preeminent research institutions and provided market clearance submission development and support for global medtech and pharmaceutical industry clients.

Among prominent representations, Ms. O’Connor played an active role in securing an $18.75 million settlement on behalf of a proposed class of investors alleging the biopharmaceutical company, Chiasma, Inc., misled investors in its 2015 initial public offering about the prospects for regulatory approval of the company’s drug candidate, Mycapssa, in violation of §§ 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933.  She also acted as the lead attorney in procuring an $875k settlement against a grocery chain owned by a global investment firm on behalf of six plaintiff workers alleging sexual harassment and related claims.

Ms. O’Connor has spent her litigation career representing individuals in shareholder and complex litigation, as well as a diverse clientele in federal and state employment civil rights actions for harassment and discrimination.  She is an experienced first-chair trial attorney and is deeply committed to serving as a principled and aggressive advocate for workers’ rights.  Ms. O’Connor has handled high-stakes civil matters at all stages, from prelitigation investigations and discovery through trial.

Ms. O’Connor was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2015, and is currently admitted in good standing with the following courts:

  • All courts in the State of California
  • The United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern, and Central Districts of California

Ms. O’Connor is also a member of the following professional organizations:

  • American Bar Association
  • San Diego County Bar Association,
  • American Inns of Court—J. Clifford Wallace Chapter
  • Lawyers Club of San Diego

Ms. O’Connor was named by Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers as a leading San Diego, California lawyer in 2020 and 2021.  She was also selected by the organization as a 2020 and 2021 Rising Star, a designation awarded to no more than 2.5% of attorneys in each state.

  • Speaker, “Elimination of Bias,” The Association of Business Trial Lawyers, February 2017
  • Mock Trial Presenter, Mini-Annual Seminar on Trial Presentation, The Association of Business Trial Lawyers, January 2019
  • Going Solo: Harmonizing Judicial Treatment of the Work-for-Hire Preclusion to Music Copyright Termination (2014) 36 T. Jefferson L. Rev. 373
  • Developments in Political Spending Disclosures, THE MONITOR (Johnson Fistel, LLP, San Diego, Cal.), Sept. 2017, at 1 
  • Equifax Executives Made $1.77 Million from Stock Sales While Your Data Was Stolen, THE MONITOR (Johnson Fistel, LLP, San Diego, Cal.), Dec. 2017, at 1 
  • AT&T-Time Warner: Will This Open the Merger Floodgates? THE MONITOR (Johnson Fistel, LLP, San Diego, Cal.), September 2018, at 3 
  • No-Rehire Provisions Given the Pink Slip in California, THE MONITOR (Johnson Fistel, LLP, San Diego, Cal.), March 2020, at 1 
  • Assembly Bill 9: Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Litigation in California, THE MONITOR (Johnson Fistel, LLP, San Diego, Cal.), Nov. 2020, at 1 
  • Same-Sex Harassment Under Title VII: Broadly Actionable Under Developing Jurisprudence, THE ABTL REPORT (The Association of Business Trial Lawyers), October 2021, at 12 

Ms. O’Connor holds an LL.M. degree in Securities and Financial Regulation from Georgetown University Law Center.  She received her Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where she graduated summa cum laude and third in her class, received the CALI Award for Excellence in Legal Writing I, Legal Writing II, Civil Practice, Contracts I, Property II, Entertainment Law Transactions, and Wills and Trusts, and received the Jefferson Medal for Mediation and Negotiation.  During law school, she had the distinct honor of serving as both a faculty teaching and research assistant.  She also served as an editor for the Thomas Jefferson Law Review, where her work in intellectual property was published.

Ms. O’Connor received a Bachelor of Arts degree from California Lutheran University, where she received academic scholarships.  During her senior year, she studied Eastern European history and the Czech language as a visiting student at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

Ms. O’Connor is a proud Partner in Hope at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, part of a special group of monthly donors committed to saving children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Ms. O’Connor has been recognized as one of San Diego’s top lawyers by a number of third-party sources based upon peer reviews, including the following: