Growing with L.A.
The O'Melveny story starts way back in 1885 when Henry W.
O'Melveny and Jackson Graves founded a partnership in Los Angeles.
The fledgling firm gained traction through its work on land
litigation surrounding the ownership of California's Spanish
haciendas and its handling of the legalities of hydroelectric
power, which helped to transform the arid basin of Los Angeles into
a sprawling, car-centric metropolis. The firm underwent a total of
nine name changes, and after Judge Louis J. Myers was hired as a
lateral partner, became O'Melveny & Myers in 1939. During World
War II, the firm reeled in several major military contractors-some
of whom remain on the client list. Postwar investment drove the
growth of OMM's transactional practice, as Henry's son John kept
the family business thriving (the firm grew into one of the world's
largest by the time he retired in 1974).
The following half-century brought exponential growth as the
firm added offices in new cities foreign and domestic, gathering
awards and recognition galore along the way. Much of this expansion
and rise to prominence has been credited to the late Warren
Christopher-who served as firm chairman from 1982 to 1992,
following stints in the administrations of Presidents Johnson and
Carter and prior to his turn as U.S. Secretary of State under
President Clinton. O'Melveny has a presence in seven countries
spread over three continents and has counted former cabinet members
of two U.S. presidents among its ranks.
Prominent Inside the Beltway
O'Melveny boasts impressive political connections. In 1977,
O'Melveny hired William T. Coleman, Jr.-who earlier helped the
country move toward desegregation as a lead strategist for the
plaintiffs in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education. In
accepting the offer, Coleman became the firm's first
African-American partner, as well as its first laterally hired
partner in a half-century. A former secretary of transportation
under President Ford, Coleman worked out of O'Melveny's Washington,
DC office as a senior partner and counselor for more than 38 years.
The firm created the William T. Coleman Legal Diversity Fellowship
to honor the late Coleman.
The firm's former Chair Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr., former White
House Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, is often called to assist
with the vetting and confirmation processes of DC hopefuls. Partner
Danielle Gray, who was former Cabinet Secretary and Senior Advisor
to President Barack Obama and Associate Counsel to the President in
the Office of the White House Counsel, played a lead role in the
successful confirmation processes for Justices Sotomayor and Kagan.
Walter Dellinger-Clinton administration acting Solicitor
General-and Tom Donilon-former National Security Advisor to the
President-are also on the firm's roster. Many of the firm's alums
have gone on to serve in illustrious government positions,
including former Appellate practice chair Sri Srinivasan, who is
currently a Judge on the DC Circuit Court and was considered by
President Obama as a potential nominee to the Supreme Court; White
Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations partner Jeremy Maltby,
who returned to the firm after serving in the Office of the White
House Counsel; and Steve Bunnell, former General Counsel of the US
Department of Homeland Security, who recently rejoined
O'Melveny backs up its connections with its skills in front of
the bench. The firm is known as a go-to for the toughest cases,
often brought in when clients need a change in legal strategy. On
any given day, the firm's lawyers are likely to be working on some
of the most critical legal matters in the country, including
disputes that seek damages in the billions, challenge the business
practices of entire industries, or stand to set new legal
precedent. The firm's litigation roster runs the gamut-from
copyright litigation for SiriusXM Radio and whistleblower lawsuits
for Ocwen Financial to class action litigation for the National
Collegiate Athletic Association and pivotal antitrust litigation
for US Airways, to name just a few.
O'Melveny's corporate groups are booming as well. Across the
deal landscape, the firm routinely tapped for headline-making
transactions like Alaska Airlines' $4 billion acquisition of Virgin
America, LaGuardia Gateway Partners in its winning bid to redevelop
and operate New York LaGuardia Airport's central terminal building
in a groundbreaking public-private partnership, and a $2.8 billion
restructuring plan for paper manufacturer Verso. A powerhouse in
the entertainment and sports arenas, stalwarts like Warner Bros.,
Univision, and Top Rank turn to the firm for the deals making waves
in the industry.
O'Melveny counsel Deanna Rice argued a pro bono case
before the Supreme Court, representing a defendant an O'Melveny
team has been working with for years to challenge his decades-old
murder conviction. The American Lawyer covered Rice's
appearance before the Court in its article "Behind an O'Melveny
Lawyer's SCOTUS Debut: Two Years, Four Moot Courts and a Plan of
A Literal Global Deal
O'Melveny advised DigitalGlobe, Inc., a leading global
provider of high-resolution Earth-imagery products and services, on
its agreement to be acquired by global communications and
information company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. The
deal is valued at approximately US$3.6 billion.
The New American Is
O'Melveny represented US Airways in antitrust litigation brought
against airline ticket distributor Sabre, Inc. After three days of
deliberation, eight weeks of testimony, and more than five years of
litigation, a Manhattan jury returned a verdict in our client's
favor (entitling it to treble damages, in addition to attorneys'
fees and costs) after finding that Sabre unreasonably restrained
trade by forcing anticompetitive contract terms on the airline in
violation of the Sherman Act.
Are you Sirius?
In a major victory for Sirius XM in long-running
copyright litigation, New York's highest appeals court held that
New York law does not provide a "performance right" in pre-1972
recordings, meaning that Sirius XM and other broadcasters are not
required to obtain permission from or pay compensation to owners of
pre-1972 recordings to play their records. This ruling represented
a complete reversal of the decision reached by the federal court in
New York, and was the first appellate decision anywhere in the
country to resolve this issue.
O'Melveny serves as antitrust counsel to outdoor gear and
apparel retailer Bass Pro Shops in its US$5.5 billion acquisition
of camping and hunting retailer Cabela's, announced in late 2016.
The private equity-backed deal would combine two of the largest
sporting brands in the US.
Like a Virgin
O'Melveny advised Alaska Airlines in its $4 billion
acquisition of Virgin America. The acquisition expands the Alaska
Airlines' route network with nearly 1,200 daily flights to 118
destinations across the United States, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica,
and Cuba, making it the fifth-largest US airline.