O'Melveny & Myers

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O’Melveny & Myers LLP
O'Melveny & Myers
Headquarters 400 South Hope Street Los Angeles, CA 90071, USA
No. of offices 15 Internationally
No. of attorneys approx. 740
Major practice areas Litigation and transactions
Key people Bradley J. Butwin, Firm Chairman
Revenue $689.5 million (2015)
Date founded 1885
Founder Henry O’Melveny and Jackson Graves

O’Melveny & Myers LLP is a prominent international law firm founded in Los Angeles, California in 1885. The firm employs over 700 lawyers and has offices in California, Washington, D.C., New York City, Beijing, Brussels, Hong Kong, London, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo.

O'Melveny is one of the most prestigious and selective firms in the world, and is widely considered to be one of the best law firms to work for.[1] Notable practice areas include securities litigation, white-collar defense, corporate, antitrust, appellate litigation, international trade, capital markets, and entertainment law.[2] With regards to compensation, O'Melveny is within the top five highest paying law firms in the United States.[3]


The firm was founded in 1885 as "Graves & O'Melveny" by Henry O'Melveny and Jackson Graves.[4] The 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 car-centric metropolis.[5] The firm became "O'Melveny & Myers" when Chief Justice of California Louis Wescott Myers joined the firm after retiring from the Supreme Court.

In 1977, O'Melveny hired William T. Coleman, Jr., who had helped the country move toward desegregation 23 years prior as a lead strategist for the plaintiffs in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education.[6]

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. Warren Christopher supervised the largest period of growth in the firm's history, expanding to seven different countries.[7] Litigation partner Bradley J. Butwin is the current Chair of the firm.


O'Melveny consistently tops the charts of several "quality of life" rankings for associates. The firm ranked #1 on Vault's list of "Best Firms to Work For," #1 in "Job Satisfaction," #1 in "Best Hours Requirements," #1 in "Best Summer Associate Program," #2 in "Best Firm Culture," #2 in "Substantive Work Experience," and #5 in "Best Compensation."[8] First year associates at the firm are paid a salary of $180,000 with above-market bonuses available yearly. Summer associates are paid the same salary, although it is prorated over 10 weeks (amounting to $3500 per week).[9] O'Melveny is currently ranked as the 14th most selective firm in the world.[10]

O'Melveny ranked in the Top 10 for the fifth consecutive year on the 2016 “A-List,” a prestigious measure of the nation’s most “well-rounded” firms.[11] The firm has been a winner, finalist, or honorable mention recipient in every year of the biennial Litigation Department of the Year contest since its 2002 inception, one of only two firms to achieve that distinction. O'Melveny is a member of the V30, a ranking of the 30 most prestigious law firms in the world.[12]

Notable partners and alumni[edit]

Notable cases[edit]

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.[14] 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.[15] 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."[16]

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.[17]

O'Melveny represented former Enron Corporation chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling during his four-month fraud and conspiracy trial. It presently represents Donald Trump and Trump University in a suit alleging that the University defrauded its students.[18]

In culture[edit]

O'Melveny & Myers was referenced in an episode of The Sopranos as one of the firms that DOJ officials seek to work for.[19]


External links[edit]