Paul O’Connor studied law at University College Dublin where he graduated with BCL and LL.M degrees. He subsequently obtained the professional legal qualification of Barrister-at-Law from King’s Inns and continued with his legal studies at the University of Pennsylvania where he obtained a Master’s in Law specialising in Criminal Justice.
Following a brief period of practise in the United States he returned to Ireland and UCD to commence a career as a legal academic. He resumed extensive contact with the United States in the 1980’s as a Fulbright Fellow at the law school of the University of Michigan where he conducted research into comparative Family Law. In 2009 he participated in Boston College’s program on trends in higher education.
During the course of his career at UCD he has taught a range of courses specialising in Criminal Law, Evidence and Family Law. Among the courses he currently teaches is a postgraduate course on the History and Theory of Penal Reform. On the administrative and development side he served as Dean of the School of Law from 1992 to 2007. He has served on numerous committees and was appointed by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to the Criminal Law Codification Advisory Committee. Apart from his scholarly/academic distinctions and his achievements as an innovator in legal education and strategic development, Professor O’Connor has acquired experience working with various government and professional bodies both nationally and internationally and has developed a range of skills in such areas as personnel, financial management, institutional cooperation and external relations.
He was appointed Director of UCD’s Institute of Criminology in 2010 and is currently editor of the leading Irish law journal, The Irish Jurist. He is actively involved in the Ireland United States Alumni Association (IUSA) and serves as Acting President on its interim board of directors.