Dennis O’Neill

Dennis O’Neill

Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

Dennis O'Neill is a native of Charleston, South Carolina. Following completion of parochial schools in Charleston, he graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1975 (BA: History) and from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1978(JD). He was admitted to the South Carolina Bar on November 8, 1978 and has also been admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia and the United States Supreme Court.

For 40 years Mr. O'Neill has counseled and represented clients in the private practice of law, with the following areas of emphasis:

Mr. O'Neill has counseled and represented thousands of clients in Charleston County and throughout the State of South Carolina in relation to a wide variety of legal matters including: Adoptions, Appeals, Business Formations, Corporations, Divorce, Child Custody, Commercial and Residential Real Estate, Contract Preparation, Probate, Estates, Wills and Estate Administration, Mortgage Foreclosure, Zoning , Land Planning and Land Use, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Products Liability Claims and in various other  legal matters.

Mr. O'Neill has extensive experience in Criminal Defense. He served as part-time Public Defender in the city of Charleston and also as part-time Prosecutor for the County of Charleston, prosecuting cases in Magistrates and Municipal Courts throughout Charleston County. Mr. O'Neill defended his first Murder case in 1979. Since that time has defended in jury trials, bench trials and in negotiated pleas, individuals charged in State and Federal courts with a wide variety of Criminal Offenses including Murder, Murder for Hire, Armed Robbery, Assault and Battery with Intent to Kill (ABWIK), Assault and Battery of a High and Aggregated Nature (ABHN) Bank Robbery, Kidnapping, Distribution of Heroin, Lynching, Distribution of Crack Cocaine, , Home Invasion , Felony DUI, and numerous other criminal  offenses.
Mr. O'Neill has been engaged in the trials of Civil Cases, primarily representing Plaintiff/Claimants since 1978. He has served as lead counsel, co-counsel and associated counsel in a wide variety of cases including Automobile Accident trials, Products Liability, Premises Liability and Defective Product cases, and other Personal Injury claims.  Additionally, he has represented clients in the trials of Contested Divorces, Contested Wills and Estates, as well as, Custody and Visitation cases.  Mr. O'Neill has represented General Contractors in the trials of Contested Mechanic's Lien Collection suits and represented Homeowners in the defense of Mechanic's Lien cases and, has represented Homeowners in trials of Defective Construction claims against General Contractors and Sub-Contractors.

In 2005 Mr. O'Neill was selected for membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates (, a professional organization comprised of approximately 5% of nation's trial attorneys who display skill, civility and integrity.  The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) works to promote, protect and preserve your right to a civil jury trial.
Mr. O'Neill is a real estate Broker, licensed by the state of South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation for nearly 35 years.  He created a course which was approved for instruction by SCLLR in Continuing Education for licensed Real Estate Agents. Although Mr. O'Neill is Broker - in Charge of a real estate agency, he does not actively list, buy, sell or practice real estate for others and limits his activities in this regard to personal and family transactions.

 Mr. O'Neill has maintained an active real estate closing practice for 35 years. He is a licensed Title Insurance Agent, and is President and founder of Seabrook Island Title Agency, Inc. Since its inception in 1998, Mr. O'Neill and Seabrook Island Title Agency, Inc. have successfully closed thousands of real estate transactions, involving more than one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) in sales transactions, primarily in the Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Seabrook Island, Kiawah Island, Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms and Wild Dunes communities.
Mr. O'Neill is President and founder of Tax Free Exchange Services Inc.  which provides 1031 Tax Free Exchange Intermediary Services for Tax Free Exchanges and Reverse-Tax Free Exchanges.

Mr. O'Neill has also served as an Expert Witness in law suits pertaining to broker/agent responsibilities in the listing, sale and closing of Residential Real Estate Transactions, as well as on behalf of Closing Attorneys in law suits resulting from allegations of attorney error in residential real estate closing transactions.
Approximately 20 years ago, Mr. O'Neill was selected by the Chief Administrative Judge of Ninth Judicial Circuit to be among the first group of 25 mediators to be trained for that purpose in Charleston County. Mr. O'Neill served as chairman of The Committee of The Charleston County Bar Association to establish a Mediation pilot project in Charleston County.  Mr. O'Neill is a Board Certified Mediator and a Board Certified Arbitrator. He is also certified as a Mediator by the US District Court, Charleston District. Mr. O'Neill has conducted hundreds of mediations and arbitrations, primarily in areas of Personal Injury, Products and Premises Liability and Real Estate. Mr. O'Neil is also an approved Mediator by the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors (CTAR), which has adopted contract forms requiring mediation of all disputes arising out of CTAR transactions.
Mr. O'Neill was first appointed to serve as Associate Judge of Mount Pleasant Municipal Court in 1983. He served as Associate or Chief Judge of the Mount Pleasant Municipal Court in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina until 1990. Since that time, he has also served as Associate Judge of the Municipal Court of Sullivans Island, South Carolina and as special Judge for the Isle of Palms Municipal Court, on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina.   In his capacity as Municipal Judge, Mr. O'Neill has presided over, either at a bench or jury trial, thousands of misdemeanor cases, including cases of Driving under the Influence ( DUI) , Simple Possession, Minor in Possession, Reckless Driving, Speeding , Criminal Domestic Violence(CDV) , Simple  Assault and many other offenses.
Mr. O'Neill has served as a special Circuit Court Judge for the Court of Common Pleas for the Ninth Judicial (Charleston and Berkeley Counties) by appointment of Chief Administrative Judge.  His opinion in Gordon vs. Colonial Insurance Company of California was affirmed by the Court of Appeals and the South Carolina Supreme Court by opinion dated May 8, 2000, cited as 342 SC 158,365S.E.2d 376.

In April 2000, Mr. O'Neill was sworn in as Chief Judge of the Seabrook Island Municipal Court, Seabrook Island South Carolina and has served in that capacity since that date.   In April 2008 he began his third four-year term as Chief Judge.

NOTE: Because of his position as Judge of Seabrook Island Municipal Court, Mr. O'Neill does not counsel, consult nor represent any person charged with any criminal offense arising   in municipality of Seabrook Island, SC, nor appear before any Board or Commission of the Town of Seabrook Island.
G.    OTHER:

Mr. O'Neill has served on the executive Committee of the Charleston County Bar Association. He has lectured on Ethics at Continuing Education Seminars conducted by Charleston County Bar Association. He has taught Business Law and Criminal Procedure at the Trident Technical College located in North Charleston, SC.  He has served   as Chairman of the Sullivan's Island Election Commission and on the community relations Boards of both First Citizens Bank and Trust and Carolina First Bank and he is a Life Fellow of South Carolina Bar Foundation. He is a member of various religious, civic and social organizations in the Charleston and Mount Pleasant South Carolina communities.

Areas of Practice

  • Criminal Defense
  • Civil Litigation
  • Real Estate
  • Mediation and Arbitration
  • Judicial Experience

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Board Certified Mediator
  • Board Certified Arbitrator
  • Certified as a Mediator, US District Court

Bar Admissions

  • South Carolina, 1978
  • U.S. District Court District of South Carolina
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • University of South Carolina School of Law, Columbia, South Carolina
    • J.D. - 1978
  • University of South Carolina
    • B.A. - 1975
    • Major: History


  • Ethics, Charleston County Bar Association
  • Business Law and Criminal Procedure, Trident Technical College

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Member
  • Seabrook Island Title Agency, Inc., President and Founder
  • Tax Free Exchange Services Inc., President and Founder
  • Charleston County Bar Association, Chairman
  • Mount Pleasant Municipal Court, Associate Judge
  • Chief Judge of the Mount Pleasant Municipal Court in Mount Pleasant, Associate
  • Municipal Court of Sullivans Island, Associate Judge
  • Isle of Palms Municipal Court, Judge
  • Court of Common Pleas for the Ninth Judicial, Circuit Court Judge
  • Charleston County Bar Association, Executive Committee
  • Sullivan’s Island Election Commission, Chairman
  • South Carolina Bar Foundation, Fellow