Boston University School of Law

John T. McNeil

Lecturer in Law
Assistant United States Attorney

B.A., magna cum laude, University of California at Berkeley
J.D., cum laude, Harvard Law School


A public interest litigator for more than 20 years, John T. McNeil recently returned to Boston in after a year investigating and prosecuting federal criminal cases in Seattle, Washington.  He is currently serving as the First Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, assisting in the oversight of more than 100 criminal and civil prosecutors in three offices. 

Mr. McNeil first joined the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston in 1999.  During his tenure he has served as Counsel to the United States Attorney, Acting Chief of the Major Crimes Unit, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, and an Assistant United States Attorney in the Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit and the Major Crimes Unit.  Most recently, Mr. McNeil successfully tried a large-scale, international gun running and heroin/crystal methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy based in the Western District of Washington.  Among his notable Massachusetts cases, Mr. McNeil was the lead prosecutor in U.S. v. Dianne Wilkerson & Charles “Chuck” Turner, a corruption case involving an eight term Massachusetts State Senator and a longtime Boston City Councilor, and U.S. v. Thomas Finneran, targeting the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with a federal voting rights case.  He also was the lead prosecutor in a series of cases targeting corrupt police officers in Massachusetts including: U.S. v. Roberto Pulido, et al. (multi-state undercover sting operation of corrupt Boston police officers); U.S. v. Edguardo Rodriguez, (targeting steroid distribution and use among law enforcement officers); U.S. v. Jose Ortiz, (police officer extorting cash and drugs on behalf of a Colombian drug organization); and U.S. v. Jordan, et al., (narcotics detective’s armed robbery of a cocaine dealer).  Mr. McNeil also investigated and prosecuted the Archdiocese of Boston in connection with the clergy sex abuse scandal.

A distinguished federal trial and appellate attorney, Mr. McNeil has prosecuted a broad array of federal crimes in addition to public corruption matters, including armored car robbery, arson, bank robbery, carjacking, child exploitation, and street gang firearms/narcotics cases, among others.  Mr. McNeil brought the first prosecution in the Commonwealth under the federal Violence Against Women Act, tried the first International Parental Kidnapping case in the district, and teamed with other prosecutors on notable matters such as U.S. v. Defendants #4 and #5, et al. (the “Russian Spy Case”), In re: Dolours Price MLAT (the “Boston College Archive” matter),  and the federal manhunt for Christian Gerhartsreiter a/k/a “Clark Rockefeller.”   Mr. McNeil has also briefed and argued numerous matters before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and, more recently, several matters before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In the 1990s, Mr. McNeil served for nearly a decade at the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Boston.  There he investigated and prosecuted complex environmental crimes throughout New England, and held appointments as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Districts of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  Mr. McNeil also represented the United States in numerous civil environmental matters including the negotiation and litigation of multi-million dollar hazardous waste clean-up cases, emergency remedial actions, and regulatory penalty matters.  His litigation career started at Norfolk District Attorney’s Office, where he tried cases as an Assistant District Attorney in courts throughout Norfolk County.

Mr. McNeil has been a speaker and taught courses at the Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Harvard Law School,  Boston University School of Law, and the Boston Bar Association, among others.  Mr. McNeil served as a Wasserstein Fellow in Public Interest Law at the Harvard Law School in 2010-2011.     

Mr. McNeil is a cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School.  He is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  Mr. McNeil served as law clerk on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to the Hon. Francis P. O’Connor.

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