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 2014, we continued our ascent up The American Lawyer’s “A-List,” ranking second 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 National Legal Aid & Defender Association's 2014 Beacon of Justice Award: By extending volunteer legal services to the poor and disadvantaged, we enhance 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 approximately 750 attorneys in 15 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 over 30 Employee Networks, 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 third Women’s Leadership Academy in 2014, 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.
- Carlos Lazatin, a partner in our Class Actions, Mass Torts, and Insurance Litigation Practice, was selected for the 2014 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. The LCLD Fellows program aims to increase diversity within law firms and corporate legal departments at the leadership level.
- 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. We promoted four woman counsel to the Firm’s 2015 partnership class. We also welcomed three women partners (one of whom is also a partner of color) to the Firm in 2014 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: More than 70% of our lawyers participate in pro bono projects and annually devote over 70,000 hours to those efforts. Our lawyers have secured legal status for immigrants fleeing persecution in their native countries, protected low-income tenants facing abuse by slumlords, obtained medical treatment and essential benefits for the disabled and for foster youth, and much more. Over the past two years, we again argued on behalf of the civil rights of traditionally marginalized groups in courts throughout the United States. We won a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court victory in a landmark Fourth Amendment case involving the warrantless tracking of vehicles equipped with GPS devices—a decision likely to alter the way police conduct surveillance. We also wrote influential amicus briefs in the Court’s marriage equality cases, striking down both the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.
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 firm for high-profile entertainment disputes 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. O’Melveny Chair Bradley Butwin, who is based in our New York office, is consistently listed as one of the country's top securities litigators.
In 2014, Legal 500 named Daniel Petrocelli, chair of O’Melveny’s Business and Trial Litigation Practice Group, “Leading Trial Lawyer of the Year”; the Daily Journal honored Carla Christofferson, our Los Angeles managing partner, and partners Carolyn Kubota and Linda Smith, as “Top Women Lawyers”; partner Bingna Guo was named to the Asian Legal Business “China Client Choice 20” highlighting the “most sought-after private practice lawyers in the country”; and Apalla Chopra, chair of the Firm’s Labor and Employment Practice, as well as partners Michael McGuinness and Bob Siegel, were named “Top Labor and Employment Lawyers” by the Daily Journal. Several of our practices—including Antitrust and Competition, Class Actions, Entertainment and Media, and Intellectual Property and Technology—were recognized among the best of the best by Chambers and Partners and Law360, among others. These recognitions—just a small sampling of the accolades our litigation team has recently garnered—stem from the outstanding results we achieve for our clients.
- 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, O’Melveny defeated allegations of price-fixing against SK hynix, freeing the Korean chipmaker from US$12 billion in alleged damages.
- O’Melveny successfully defended AEG Live in one of the most talked-about trials in recent memory—the courtroom showdown with Michael Jackson’s family over who is responsible for the King of Pop’s untimely death.
- O’Melveny represented US Airways in connection with its historic merger with American Airlines, both in structuring a complex set of labor agreements to secure union support for the deal, and as lead trial counsel in the Department of Justice’s attempt to enjoin the merger on antitrust grounds.
- Handing defeat to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s trial unit in an alleged securities fraud case, O’Melveny achieved a complete victory for the former CFO of a water company. Following an eight-day bench trial, a federal rejected every claim in the SEC’s 57-page complaint against the executive.
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, or guiding insolvent companies through high-profile chapter 11 proceedings. MergerMarket’s 2014 league tables rank us among the Top 5 in global, US, and Asia-Pacific buyouts, and in Western US, Asia-Pacific, and Greater China M&A.
O’Melveny’s transactions group regularly garners recognition. Among many other accolades in 2014, Stephen Scharf, transactions co-head of O’Melveny’s Entertainment, Sports and Media practice, earned a spot on The Hollywood Reporter’s “Power Lawyers” List; George Davis, co-chair of our Global Restructuring Practice, was named to Global M&A Network’s list of the “Top 100 Restructuring & Turnaround Professionals”; partner Paul Scrivano was named a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year and one of the Top 50 M&A Lawyers by Global M&A; partner Wendy Pan received the China Mergers & Acquisitions Association’s M&A Service Award; and counsel Angela Yung was named “Investment Funds Lawyer of the Year: UK” in the 2014 Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards.
As trusted advisers, our transactions attorneys work creatively and collaboratively across geographies and practices to help clients achieve their most complex and strategic objectives.
- Our team advised 1Verge Holdings Ltd.—Youku Tudou’s largest corporate shareholder—in connection with a US$1.22 billion investment in Youku Tudou by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Yunfeng Capital. Youku Tudou, known as the YouTube of China, is the country’s largest online video platform.
- In one of the largest acquisitions to date in the Indian IT services space, O’Melveny represented Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in its approximately US$460 million purchase, alongside affiliates of Baring Private Equity Asia, of a controlling interest in Hexaware Technologies, an India-based information technology and business process outsourcing service provider.
- O’Melveny represented the underwriters in connection with Prologis, Inc.’s US$1.48 billion public offering of common stock, one of the largest common stock offerings in 2013.
- We advised Yahoo! Inc. in connection with its Rule 144A offering of US$1.44 billion aggregate principal amount of 0.00% Convertible Senior Notes due 2018 and related convertible note hedge and warrant transactions. This offering was one of the largest convertible note offerings in 2013, and one of the most successful convertible note offerings of all time with respect to pricing terms achieved for an issuer.
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 15th office worldwide and our sixth 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 also have added an office in Singapore. 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.