CSS 2020 Speaker Catherine OConnell


Catherine O’Connell is Principal Founder and CEO of her own boutique, secondment-based flexible NewLaw firm, Catherine O’Connell Law. She is the first foreign female to set up her own law practice in Tokyo and was named as a finalist in the ALB Law Awards 2020 in two categories – Boutique Law Firm of the Year and Foreign Lawyer of the Year. Catherine has been in Japan 17 years working primarily in In-House roles at Panasonic Corporation, Olympus Corporation and Mitsubishi Motors as well as a Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells International Law Firm in the Tokyo and London offices, as well as 10+ years in New Zealand in private practice. Catherine’s expertise is in Commercial & Corporate Law and Compliance and supports Corporate In-House Legal Teams, SMEs & CEOs as Outside General Counsel, and works with Japanese Law Firms in their engagement with their foreign clients.

Catherine is passionate about giving back to the community and serves as Vice President of Women in Law Japan, co-Vice-Chair of the Australian & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of Japan and co-Chair of the Legal Services & IP Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan as well as an active Entrepreneur member of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan and Professional member of the Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

Catherine also mentors law students and lawyers embarking on law careers. She also speaks on panels and is an experienced Webinar moderator. She believes healthy lawyers make happy lawyers and is focused on lawyer wellness and flexible working.

Catherine has double degree in Japanese and Law, and is a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand (1995) and England & Wales (2009). She is a Foreign Registered Lawyer in Japan the Tokyo Dai-Ichi Bar Association.