O'Melveny & Myers
|O’Melveny & Myers LLP|
|No. of offices||16|
|No. of attorneys||approx. 740|
|Major practice areas||Litigation and transactions|
|Key people||Bradley J. Butwin, Firm Chairman|
|Revenue||$665.0 million (2014)|
|Founder||Henry O’Melveny and Jackson Graves|
O’Melveny & Myers LLP is an international law firm founded in Los Angeles, California. The firm is the 48th largest law firm in the world and has been said by Vault to be one of America's top 25 most prestigious law firms and best firms to work for.
It employs around 800 lawyers in 16 offices worldwide. The firm has represented clients, such as Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, Fannie Mae, Goldman Sachs, the District of Columbia, New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and other law firms. They represented former Enron Corporation chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling during his four-month fraud and conspiracy trial.
The firm was founded in 1885 as "Graves & O'Melveny" by Henry O'Melveny and Jackson Graves. The firm became "O'Melveny & Myers" when Chief Justice of California Louis Wescott Myers joined the firm after retiring from the Supreme Court. The former Chair of the firm, Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr., who serves at the firm's Washington, D.C. office, is the former White House Counsel during the Reagan Administration. Former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher (1925-2011), who served as the firm's Chairman from 1981-1991, was a Senior Partner at the firm's Century City, CA office. Litigation partner Bradley J. Butwin is the current Chair of the firm.
O’Melveny & Myers attorneys represent clients in many areas, including antitrust and competitiveness issues, appellate work, aviation law, capital markets, class-action defense, corporate law, entertainment and media law, finance and restructuring, white collar defense and corporate investigations, healthcare law, insurance and mass torts, intellectual property and technology, labor and employment law, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, project development and real estate, SEC, securities litigation, strategic counseling, tax law, and trial and litigation work.
Notable partners and alumni
- Former partner Louis Caldera served as United States Secretary of the Army.
- Warren Christopher (1925-2011), former U.S. Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton, was a Senior Partner at the firm's Century City, CA office until his death in 2011.
- William T. Coleman, was Secretary of Transportation under President Gerald Ford, and also helped Thurgood Marshall win Brown vs. Board of Education. Currently a senior partner and the Senior Counselor in the Washington, DC office.
- Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr., former White House Counsel to President Ronald Reagan. He is the former Chair of the firm and works out of the Washington, DC office.
- Walter E. Dellinger III was United States Solicitor General for the 1996-97 Term of the Supreme Court. Currently a partner at the Washington, DC office.
- Former partner Sandra Segal Ikuta is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
- Former associate Mike Gatto is California State Assemblyman and Chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
- Former associate Goodwin Liu is an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court.
- Former partner Kim McLane Wardlaw is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
- Former partner Michael Zimmerman is a former Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court.
- Sri Srinivasan, now a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, was the former chair of the appellate practice.
- Former partner Alejandro Mayorkas is the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
During the savings and loan crisis, the FDIC sued O'Melveny & Myers for providing incompetent legal advice to one S&L. In the resulting U.S. Supreme Court case, O'Melveny & Myers v. FDIC, 512 U.S. 79 (1994), the firm won on the narrow issue of whether federal or state law should govern the firm's defense that the FDIC was estopped from pursuing it because the FDIC was the S&L's successor-in-interest.
In January 2008, the Interim Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Peter Nickles, selected O’Melveny & Myers partner Walter E. Dellinger III to defend the constitutionality of the District's handgun ban before the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller. In March 2008, Dellinger argued that the city's ban on the possession of handguns and its trigger lock requirement is not implicated by the Second Amendment. However, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, held that the Second Amendment protects an individual's "right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."
In February 2008, Dellinger argued before the Supreme Court in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, on behalf of Exxon regarding the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision (Justice Alito had recused himself), reduced the $2.5 billion punitive damages award against Exxon to $507.5 million, holding that in maritime cases there should be a 1:1 ratio between punitive and compensatory (actual) damages.
The firm represented the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in the lawsuits over the Belmont Learning Center in Los Angeles in the 1990s. LAUSD later sued the firm for alleged malpractice due, in part, to the involvement of its attorneys on all sides of the negotiations. The lawsuit eventually settled, with the law firm paying $3 million towards completion of Belmont.
In September 1991 the firm represented, pro bono, community gang abatement specialist Ronald Lazar, StreetPeace, and nine other plaintiffs in a precedent-setting consolidated small claims action on appeal, Rawlings, et al v. Crumpton, establishing an important, powerful tool in crime prevention.
- "US Results: O'Melveny's revenue and PEP slump 9%". Retrieved 2015-03-18.
- Law Firm Rankings: The Vault Top 100 Law Firms
- Law Firm Rankings 2013: The Best Law Firms to Work For
- Office listing
- Johnson, Carrie (2006-06-16). "After the Enron Trial, Defense Firm Is Stuck With the Tab". The Washington Post.
- Firm history
- Nakamura, David (2008-01-04). "City Picks Head of Team for Supreme Court Case". The Washington Post.
- Justices Lean Toward Individual Right to Bear Arms - US News and World Report
- Supreme Court Strikes Down D.C. Handgun Ban : NPR
- Law.com - Supreme Court Reduces Damages Awarded in Exxon Case
- The School That Wasn't