O'Melveny & Myers

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O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Headquarters 400 South Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071, USA
No. of offices 15
No. of attorneys 740
Major practice areas Litigation and Transactions
Key people Bradley J. Butwin, Firm Chairman
Revenue $725 million (2016)[1]
Date founded 1885
Founder Henry O’Melveny and Jackson Graves
Website www.omm.com

O’Melveny & Myers LLP is a prominent international law firm founded in Los Angeles, California in 1885. The firm employs approximately 740 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 it is widely considered to be one of the best law firms to work for.[2] Notable practice areas include securities law, white-collar crime, corporate law], competition law, appellate litigation, international trade law, private equity, and entertainment law.[3] With regards to compensation, O'Melveny is among the highest-paying law firms in the United States.[2]

O'Melveny represents corporate clients in issues related to transactions, compliance, litigation, and internal investigations. Notable clients include Apple Inc., Samsung, Google, Tesla, Inc., Facebook, Uber, The Walt Disney Company, Netflix, HBO, Warner Bros., Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America.


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.[3] The firm became "O'Melveny & Myers" when Chief Justice of California Louis Wescott Myers joined the firm after retiring from the Supreme Court of California.

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.[3]

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.[3] Litigation partner Bradley J. Butwin is the current Chair of the firm.


The firm ranked #1 on Vault.com's 2017 list of "Best Firms to Work For," #1 in "Job Satisfaction," #1 in "Best Hours Requirements," #1 in "Best Summer Associate Program," # in "Best Firm Culture," #2 in "Substantive Work Experience," and #5 in "Best Compensation."[2] According to Vault, first-year associates at the firm are paid a salary of $180,000 with bonuses available yearly. Summer associate attorneys are paid the same salary, although it is prorated over 10 weeks (amounting to $3,500 per week).[3] O'Melveny is currently ranked as the 9th most selective firm in the world.[2]

O'Melveny ranked in the Top 10 for the 5th consecutive year on the 2016 “A-List,” a prestigious measure of the nation’s most “well-rounded” firms.[5] 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.[2]

Notable partners and alumni[edit]

Notable cases[edit]

O’Melveny & Myers partner Walter E. Dellinger III defended the constitutionality of the Washington, DC's handgun ban before the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller.[7] 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.[8] 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."[9]

In February 2008, the firm 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.[10]

O'Melveny represented former Enron Corporation chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling during his four-month fraud and conspiracy trial. The firm represented Martha Stewart during her six-month insider trading trial. It represented Donald Trump and Trump University in a suit alleging that the University defrauded its students.[11] In 2012, the firm represented professional boxer Manny Pacquiao in a defamation suit against Floyd Mayweather Jr., in which Mayweather was ordered to pay $113,000 in legal fees.

In 2018, the firm was hired by the board of directors of Wynn Resorts to assist it in conducting an independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Steve Wynn.[12] Ten days later, the firm was replaced by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.[13]

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.[14] A DOJ prosecutor is heard saying, "He ruined his six-figure future at O'Melveny & Myers when he blew the Junior Soprano trial."


External links[edit]