Throughout her life, Mary Ellen O’Connor has had a passion for standing up for what’s right. As the founder of O’Connor Law PLLC, she considers it a privilege to be able to help those in need in the White Plains, Yonkers, and Bronx areas access the benefits that can help them provide for themselves and their families.
A Background in Practicing Law to Help Others
After earning her BS from SUNY Albany and her MS from the College of Mount St. Vincent, Mary Ellen became a K-2 teacher. She soon discovered that many of her young students with learning disabilities were unable to access the services they needed to succeed in the classroom. Their parents either didn’t know about the resources available or struggled to navigate the legal red tape that was required.
Mary Ellen initially hoped that earning her law degree from CUNY School of Law would allow her to be a more effective advocate for children with special needs. Life took an unexpected turn, however.
Although Mary Ellen entered law school with the goal of focusing on special education law, she soon became frustrated with the ineffectiveness of the system and how it was being manipulated by the wealthy to provide extra advantages for their children. After an extended period of soul-searching, she channeled her desire to help others into a focus on workers’ compensation benefits law and Social Security disability law.
Handling NYC's Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability Cases
When you’re dealing with the effects of an on-the-job injury or a disabling medical condition, it’s hard to know where to turn—especially if you’ve never needed to hire an attorney in the past. Mary Ellen learned about this anxiety firsthand when her husband suffered a serious on-the-job injury while she was a law student with three young children at home. He was eventually able to access his workers’ compensation benefits, but they were without an income for nearly six months and worried about how to make ends meet.
At O’Connor Law PLLC, Mary Ellen strives to put a client’s mind at rest from the very first meeting or telephone call. She draws on her background as a teacher to explain complex concepts without the confusing legal jargon other attorneys use and empower clients to take control of their situation by fully understanding their legal rights.
An expert litigator who trained new attorneys and lectured extensively before starting her own practice in 2009, Mary Ellen is respected throughout the industry for her knowledge of workers’ compensation and Social Security disability law as well as her commitment to going the extra mile for clients. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Injured Workers Bar Association, as well as the Workers’ Compensation Alliance.
Mary Ellen’s belief in the importance of lifelong learning means she’s always researching new strategies and techniques that can be used to help her clients get the benefits they deserve—making her both a compassionate advocate and a formidable adversary.
Life Outside of Workers Comp and SSD
Mary Ellen is the youngest of eight children. Her father was a practicing attorney until he was 89, handling everything from criminal defense to car accident and personal injury cases.
Although she doesn’t share her father’s love of camping, Mary Ellen enjoys taking extended weekend vacations with her husband to visit their adult children and to experience different cities throughout the US. Charleston, New Orleans, and Miami are a few of her favorite places to visit.
An avid reader, Mary Ellen makes it her goal to complete three to four books per month.
Preferring a mix of fiction and non-fiction, Mary Ellen enjoys biographies of notable people throughout history as well as the occasional guilty pleasure chick lit title.
Mary Ellen volunteers at Homes for the Brave, a non-profit with a mission of providing Veterans and others experiencing homelessness with housing and social services.