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Hugh O'Reilly, LLB' 90

Hugh O’Reilly has had an extraordinary career as a leader in the field of pension law and management since his graduation from the University of Calgary Faculty of Law in 1990.  Currently, Hugh serves as President and CEO of OPTrust, which invests and manages one of the largest defined benefit pension funds in Canada. 

 Hugh is passionate about his work with OPTrust and enjoys using his expertise and experience to achieve positive outcomes for the organization and its members.  A typical day for Hugh may involve a travel and working with incredibly talented people from many disciplines in order to further the goals of OPTrust.  

Over the course of his legal career, Hugh’s area of focus was in pension law both in private practice and working on in-depth policy development with the government of Ontario.  Working in the legal field helped Hugh to develop expert knowledge of pensions and the business management skills that have helped him transition into his current role. 

This ability to see opportunities as potential valuable experiences is advice that Hugh would give to law students just starting their careers in the legal profession.  He noted, that “a lot of opportunities will come your way and you have to have confidence in yourself to take on challenges and believe that you have the ability to take them on yourself.” 

In law school, Hugh embodied this message by being involved in many extra-curricular activities such as Student Legal Assistance, winning the Blackstone debating medal and competing in the Jessup International Moot with a team that came second in Canada, sixth in the world and also won the top three prizes for oralists.  In addition to these achievements, Hugh was also responsible for including the University of Calgary law students in the production of the Alberta Law Review.  This has had a significant and lasting impact for many University of Calgary law students since that time who, as a result, have had the opportunity to participate in editing the Alberta Law Review.  

Hugh believes the lessons he learned while attending the University of Calgary, both inside and outside of the classroom, were a significant contributing factor in his professional success as both a lawyer and businessman.  Although the practice of law and lawyers themselves have changed in the years since Hugh was called to the bar, with legal professionals like Hugh setting examples for graduating students and leading the way in industry, the future looks  bright.