A Values-Driven Law Firm
At O’Melveny, we take pride in balancing the practice of law with the obligations of our profession, providing opportunities for the best and brightest lawyers to do the most sophisticated and rewarding legal work available. From private equity transactions in New York to media and entertainment litigation in Century City, from cross-border M&A in Asia to pro bono appeals before the US Supreme Court, our practice spans the globe and, at the same time, serves the communities in which we live and work.
In 2013, we continued our ascent up The American Lawyer’s “A-List,” ranking fourth on this prestigious measure of the nation’s most “well-rounded” firms. We have also remained a fixture of AmLaw’s Litigation Department of the Year competition—winning once, making the finalists’ circle twice, and receiving honorable mention three times—one of only two firms to have garnered acclaim in every year of the award’s history. We hold a special regard for the commitment that earned us the American Bar Association’s 2011 Pro Bono Public Award: By extending volunteer legal services to the poor and disadvantaged, O’Melveny “enhanced the human dignity of others”—and, we believe, of ourselves.
From a two-man shop on Los Angeles’s Main Street in 1885 to a diverse, international firm of 800 attorneys in 16 offices today, O’Melveny has extended its reach while maintaining a culture of collegiality and civic engagement. Our core values—uncompromising excellence, distinctive leadership, and superior citizenship—were articulated by our late Chairman, former US Secretary of State Warren Christopher, whose legacy is the standard by which we continue to measure our performance. No honor is greater within our Firm than the Warren Christopher Values Award, bestowed every year on those individuals whose service to clients and community most embodies those ideals.
To read more about our core values, click here.
Dedicated to Diversity
In keeping with our core values, O’Melveny embraces diversity in all its forms and possibilities. We understand that to realize our fullest potential—and to achieve the best results for our clients—we must connect all our people to a common purpose in an environment where everyone can succeed. No firm can hope to excel without diverse teams whose backgrounds and experiences reflect those of the clients it serves. In short, diversity in the legal profession is not just an admirable goal; it is a business imperative.
To ensure that O’Melveny makes the progress that our clients expect, our management team has agreed on a set of diversity data and metrics, and we have incorporated them into our strategic plan. We are committed to increasing the number of diverse attorneys at the partnership level and in leadership roles, providing clients with more diverse thinking and greater innovation, connecting our diverse employee networks to our business development efforts, and, through our training initiatives and internal communications, raising awareness of diversity issues.
- Our governance structure relies on input from a Director of Diversity and Inclusion, a Diversity and Inclusion Partner, a Diversity and Inclusion Council of senior leaders, and a Women’s Advisory Board. We also sponsor some 30 Affinity Groups, including those engaged in LGBT, racial/ethnic, women’s, religious, and parenting issues.
- Our Women’s Initiative aims to equip the Firm’s women attorneys—41% of our lawyers—with the tools and support they need to succeed. As part of that effort, we hosted our second Women’s Leadership Academy in 2012, an opportunity for the O’Melveny community of women lawyers to come together to enhance their knowledge and understanding of women’s issues in the legal industry.
- Profiles in Diversity Journal honored Carolyn Kubota, a partner in our White Collar Defense & Corporate Investigations Practice, in its 2013 “Women Worth Watching” issue. Aparna Joshi, a partner in our Labor & Employment Practice, was selected for the 2013 Fellows Program of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, a national organization made up of the legal profession’s top general counsel and managing partners. And Andrew Parlen, a partner in our Restructuring Practice, earned a “Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 — Class of 2013” Award from the National LGBT Bar Association.
- The Firm’s Talent Development team embeds diversity and inclusion in all our key processes and programs, including talent review, recruitment, performance, promotion, succession planning, and flex work. In 2012, we promoted four women counsel, one Latina counsel, and one LGBT counsel to the Firm’s partnership. We also welcomed four women partners and three partners of color to the Firm through our lateral recruiting efforts.
- The Firm participates in Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, an internship program offered to law students from underrepresented communities.
- To reinforce our efforts, O’Melveny collaborates with several groups committed to enhancing diversity in the legal profession. These organizations include Catalyst, Lambda Legal, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
To read more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion, click here.
Pillars of the Community
For more than a century, O’Melveny lawyers have been actively involved in their communities, engaging in our profession’s highest calling—ensuring access to justice through pro bono representation of the poor and disenfranchised. In 1929, our pioneering leader Jack O’Melveny helped establish the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles; in 1963, O’Melveny lawyers were among the few invited by President Kennedy to a White House meeting that spawned the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Today, the Firm’s pro bono commitment is unparalleled: We donated almost 60,000 hours of legal services in 2012, an average of about 100 hours per lawyer, on matters that ranged from same-sex marriage to satellite surveillance to capital punishment.
- The US Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which paved the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California, drew heavily from our amicus “Brief for Walter Dellinger.” In the name of our Washington, DC, partner and former acting Solicitor General, the Dellinger brief articulated why the Proposition 8 proponents lacked Article III standing to defend California’s ban on gay marriage. As the influential SCOTUSblog noted, our brief was “instrumental” in the Supreme Court’s Perry decision—indeed, the justices even quoted it.
- In one of the first Supreme Court decisions to address the scope of privacy in the fast-evolving context of satellite surveillance, O’Melveny won a 9–0 ruling in United States v. Jones, which found that the warrantless use of a GPS tracking device violated the Fourth Amendment. As The Wall Street Journal reported, the 2012 ruling caused a “sea change” inside the US Justice Department, prompting the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS devices then in use.
- After a multiyear battle, our pro bono litigators saved a federal inmate in Texas from execution by uncovering new evidence of his intellectual disabilities. In doing so, we persuaded the Department of Justice to not only vacate his death sentence—an unprecedented concession—but review its protocols for post-conviction capital defendants.
Under our Pro Bono Initiative, new lawyers in all US offices are required to handle at least one pro bono matter in their first year at the Firm, and all attorneys are encouraged to perform at least 50 hours of pro bono work annually. There is no cap on the amount of time that O’Melveny lawyers can spend on pro bono matters, and all pro bono hours count as billable hours at the firm. For many of our attorneys, these rank among the most satisfying experiences of their careers.
To read more about our award-winning pro bono program, click here.
O’Melveny’s litigation department has been likened to a “relentless Land Rover.” No matter how daunting the obstacle, according to The American Lawyer, “the firm’s marquee practice keeps moving ahead.” We routinely guide clients through some of the nation’s most critical legal matters: cases that seek billions of dollars in damages, that challenge the business practices of entire industries, or that attempt to criminalize broad swaths of corporate conduct. We are the premier entertainment industry firm and the go-to attorneys for the major airlines; we represent leading technology companies in high-stakes intellectual property disputes and we continue to help the country’s largest financial institutions navigate the aftermath of the global economic crisis.
In 2013, Legal 500 named Daniel Petrocelli, Chair of O’Melveny’s Business and Trial Litigation Practice Group, a “Top Ten Trial Lawyer.” The National Law Journal named Walter Dellinger, our Washington partner, one of the “Most Influential Lawyers in America.” The Daily Journal honored Apalla Chopra, Chair of O’Melveny’s Labor & Employment Practice, and Carla Christofferson, our Los Angeles managing partner, as “Top Women Lawyers.” And Law360 recognized four of O’Melveny’s practices—Appellate, Insurance, Product Liability, and Media & Entertainment—as “Practice Groups of the Year.”
- In one of the most closely watched cases in Hollywood, O’Melveny won a string of “blockbuster” copyright and trademark victories on behalf of Warner Bros. over its continued use of the Superman franchise.
- Ending a complex international battle over computer memory, O’Melveny defeated allegations of price-fixing against SK hynix, freeing the Korean chipmaker from $12 billion in alleged damages.
- In a case that made the Daily Journal’s list of Top Verdicts of 2012, O’Melveny won a complete victory for Allergan, maker of cosmetic wonder drug Botox, in a federal trade-secret misappropriation trial against rival Merz.
- After Ford suffered a $2 billion jury verdict over its pricing and discount policies, our litigators convinced the Ohio Court of Appeals to vacate the award—the largest in Ohio history—and grant the automaker a new trial.
- On the eve of jury selection, O’Melveny obtained a hugely favorable settlement for the developers of Call of Duty, the bestselling video game ever, in a fraud suit against Activision.
To read more about our latest victories, click here.
O’Melveny’s transaction practice is an elite player in the fluid, fast-paced financial arena, whether advising biotechnology clients on groundbreaking acquisitions, representing major investment banks in underwriting multibillion-dollar offerings, guiding insolvent companies through high-profile chapter 11 proceedings, or spearheading the financing and distribution of entertainment programming for audiences around the world.
In 2012, O’Melveny closed more than 200 M&A transactions for an aggregate announced deal value of more than US$60 billion, prompting Mergermarket to place the Firm among the top 10 most active law firms for M&A in three categories and among the top 20 most active firms in an additional six categories. In one of the year’s most notable deals, O’Melveny represented BGI-Shenzhen in an industry-altering merger with Complete Genomics, Inc. With a US$117.6 million transaction value, the merger—described as a “stunning move for the genomics industry” by Bio-IT World— signals to the world that China is positioned to be a major global player in the rapidly expanding genome-sequencing market.
In a deal that prompted Legal Business to name O’Melveny’s team the “Private Equity Team of the Year,” our lawyers advised Coller Capital on the approximately £1.03 billion (US$1.6 billion) acquisition from Lloyds Banking Group plc of a portfolio of private equity–related investments, as well as the transfer of £220 million (US$345 million) of undrawn commitments. This transaction is believed to be the largest unsyndicated secondaries deal ever completed. O’Melveny also advised Coller Capital on its successful fund-raising for CIP VI, which raised US$5.5 billion—the second-largest secondaries fund-raising ever.
The head of our London office, Solomon Wifa, earned a spot on The Lawyer’s “Hot 100” list; four of our Century City attorneys—Nancy Bruington, Ken Deutsch, Matthew Erramouspe, and Adam Sullins—were recognized by Variety in its annual “Dealmakers Impact Report”; the Daily Journal honored Portia Ku, a transactions partner in O’Melveny’s Shanghai and Silicon Valley offices, as one of California’s “Top Women Lawyers”; Private Equity International named O’Melveny “Law Firm of the Year” for fund formation in Asia for the third consecutive year; our Asia Restructuring Practice took home the India Business Journal’s “Deal of the Year Award” for our work representing a major international financial institution in one of the largest-ever foreign investments in the Indian real estate market; and O’Melveny was ranked highly in eight separate categories in Bloomberg’s capital markets league tables, solidifying the Firm’s standing as one of the country’s leading capital markets practices.
O’Melveny’s litigation clients also benefit from the innovation and commitment of lawyers in our transactions group. As trusted advisers, our transactions attorneys work creatively and collaboratively across geographies and practices to help clients achieve their most complex and strategic objectives.
To read more about our latest deals, click here.
Recognizing that today’s business environment crosses borders, time zones, cultures, and industries, O’Melveny opened an office in Seoul in 2012—our 16th office worldwide and our seventh in Asia. We were already a pioneer in the region, having opened offices in Tokyo and Beijing decades ago, and our China practice, which includes offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong, is now the largest of any US-based law firm. In recent years, we have added offices in Singapore and Jakarta, where we have an association with leading Indonesian law firm Tumbuan & Partners. In Europe, we serve our clients through offices in the economic and political centers of London and Brussels. Wherever we practice, O’Melveny attracts talented lawyers who are eager to work alongside acclaimed colleagues in a global, 21st century organization, tackling the most compelling and topical matters for prominent clients around the world.
For a full list of our office locations, click here.