J. Christopher Collins

Legal Administrative Assistant Rachel M. Delgado


J. Christopher Collins ("Chris") joined Mirick O'Connell in October 2015 as a member of the Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Litigation Group.  Chris is known both locally and nationally for his extensive experience in litigating first party bad faith matters and insurance cases governed by ERISA.  He has managed numerous class action matters involving Securities, 401(k), False Claim Act, Retained Asset Accounts, and many dealings with insurance and ERISA-related issues.  Prior to joining the Firm, Chris was Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Unum US, the largest provider of group and individual disability insurance in the U.S. and a fast-growing voluntary insurance business with over $6B in annual revenue.  In that role, he provided counsel and managed all of the legal resources serving Unum's largest business sector.  During his tenure at the company, he helped to lead the legal department through both acquisitions and mergers and was a key participant in working to solve significant regulatory challenges facing the company in the early 2000's.

Chris' practice focuses on life and health insurance matters with a concentration on disability income insurance and will assist the Firm in client development both locally and nationally.  He will also continue to serve the community in a broad array of philanthropic activities.  Chris is very active in the Worcester community, having served on numerous boards for non-profit entities, including the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Greater Worcester Community Foundation and Worcester Regional Research Bureau; he also currently serves as Chair of the Nativity School of Worcester and is a Council member of the American Antiquarian Society.  As lead executive on the Unum Worcester campus, he was the company liaison for many issues concerning the company and the City of Worcester, including the development of the new Unum building at City Square.

Throughout his career, Chris has been a frequent speaker and panelist at numerous industry conferences.  In 2013, he was the keynote speaker at the Definitive Disability Conference ("DDC").  In addition, he has participated at forums and events sponsored by the Worcester Regional Research Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Worcester.

In 2022, Chris received the Dr. Charles "Chick" Weiss Founders Award from the Nativity School of Worcester.  The award recognizes "perseverance, commitment, care, and devotion to The Nativity School community." 

Awards and Recognitions

  • Isaiah Thomas Award recipient (2024)
  • Nativity School of Worcester, Dr. Charles "Chick" Weiss Founders Award (2022)
  • United Way of Central Massachusetts, Orville Harold Award (2008); Aubrey K. Reid Award (2012)
  • Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, David G. Palmgren Outstanding Business Leader Award (2005)
  • March of Dimes, Top Walker, WalkAmerica (2001)
  • Boy Scouts of America Mohegan Council, Leadership Award (2010)
  • Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, In-House Leader (2011)
  • UnumProvident Corporation, Humanitarian Award (2002)

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court for Massachusetts
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Vermont Law School JD (1983)
  • College of the Holy Cross AB (1980)
  • Successfully obtained a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that an Interpleader was brought in good faith and not in violation of c. 93A. Further, that the revocation on divorce statute, c. 190B sec. 2-804, arguably revoked an insured’s ex-wife as primary beneficiary and a subsequent divorce agreement was ambiguous and did not automatically restore her beneficiary rights thereby supporting the legality of the interpleader.
  • Successfully litigated cross motions for summary judgment in a federal court ERISA matter involving a radiologist who had been paid LTD benefits for 10 years before her claim was challenged based on an eye condition that had been based on fluctuating findings and diagnoses.
  • Successfully obtained a favorable summary judgment on the interpretation and meaning of a “Guideline Premium Limit” in a flexible premium universal life insurance policy dispute. This was a case of first impression for any court in the United States.
  • Favorably resolved large and complex annuity sales practices case on behalf of a national annuity carrier
  • Successfully defeated a preliminary injunction against a major life insurance company in the business law session pertaining to cost of insurance litigation.
  • Successfully co-tried a first party individual disability income dispute regarding accident v. sickness obtaining a complete defense verdict.
  • Successfully litigated several interpleader matters in federal court garnering attorney fee awards in each matter.
  • Obtained partial summary judgment in federal court pertaining to allegations of M.G.L. c. 93A on individual disability income matter.
  • Favorably resolved rescission matters on individual life insurance and individual disability income insurance matters litigated in federal court.
  • Serve as advisor to major life and health carrier as counsel on life insurance, disability income insurance, critical illness, long-term care, multiple voluntary insurance products and other insurance matters pending nationwide.
  • Successfully handled numerous ERISA matters and obtained favorable rulings on standard of review and limitations on discovery.
  • Litigated matters pertaining to own occupation specialty language in individual disability income insurance.


Professional / Community Affiliations

  • Nativity School of Worcester, Co-Chair, Campaign for Nativity (2022-present)
  • American Antiquarian Society, Council member (2014-present); Corporator (2012-2014)
  • Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, past Board member (2014-2022)
  • Worcester Regional Research Bureau, Board member (2000-present); past member of the executive committee
  • Greater Worcester Community Foundation, former chair; past Board member (2013-2023)
  • Worcester Art Museum, past Trustee and President (2001-2010), Trustee Emeritus (2010-present); Salisbury Society member & past co-chair
  • United Way of Central Massachusetts, Campaign Chair (2002, 2010); Alexis De Tocqueville Society
  • The Bridge of Central Massachusetts, past Board member and Board President (1993-2003)
  • College of the Holy Cross, Board member (July 2020-present) President Council, Class of 1980, chair (1985-2010)
  • Worcester Fire Society
  • Yellow Label Club
  • ArtsWorcester, Framing the Future Capital Campaign, Campaign Chair 2017-2019