O'Neill, Lawrence Daniel was born on May 16, 1946 in Granite City, Illinois, United States. Son of Lawrence Frederick and Dorthy Lee (Breckenridge) O'Neill. His mother was a member of Breckenridge family of Virginia and Kentucky, his father, a direct descendant of the ancient O'Neill clan of Ulster. His father, a famous American fighter ace, was a career officer in the U.S. Navy and he spent his childhood at various naval stations in the Pacific, the US and the Mediterranean. He returned to the USA to enter University, enlisted in the US Army during the Vietnam war and served as an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army Security Agency. Upon discharge, he joined the U.S. Information Agency, serving in Washington, D.C. and in India. He joined the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy in 1974 and served until 1981. He then entered private law practice in Washington, D.C., moved to Paris in 1988 as Secretary General of the Societie International de Telecommunications Aeronautique. In 1994 he established his own practice, O'Neill and Company in Washington, D.C., Dublin, Ireland and New York.