O'Melveny & Myers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Headquarters400 South Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071, USA
No. of offices15
No. of attorneys740
Major practice areasLitigation and Transactions
Key peopleBradley J. Butwin, Firm Chairman
Revenue$725 million (2016)[1]
Date founded1885
FounderHenry 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 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 among 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 one of the highest-paying law firms in the United States.[2]

The firm 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 number one on Vault.com's 2019 list of "Best Firms to Work For," a ranking of the world's law firms based quality of life for attorneys. It received the highest rankings for "Job Satisfaction", "Associate/Partner Relations", "Best Firm Culture", "Quality of work", "Transparency", "Hours Requirements", "Summer Associate Program", and "Attorney Development."[2] The firm ranked number six for "Best Attorney Compensation." According to Vault, first-year associates at the firm are paid a base salary of $190,000 with bonuses available yearly. Summer associates are paid the same salary, although it is prorated over 10 weeks (amounting to $3,700 per week).[3] Vault ranked O'Melveny as the 4th most selective law firm in the world in 2019.[2] However, a former attorney of the firm, and winner of the Wall Street Journal's "Law Blog's" Lawyer of the Year award in 2007, has criticized the firm's handling of discrimination and sexual abuse matters.[5]

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.[6] 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 Washington, DC's handgun ban before the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller.[8] 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.[9] 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."[10]

During the Enron Scandal, O'Melveny represented former Enron chairman and CEO Jeffrey K. Skilling for a four-month fraud and conspiracy trial. The firm represented Martha Stewart during her six-month insider trading trial.

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.[11]

The firm represented Donald Trump and Trump University in a 2015 suit alleging that the university defrauded its students. O'Melveny represented professional boxer Manny Pacquiao in a defamation suit against Floyd Mayweather Jr. In 2016, the firm represented Tesla Motors in a federal suit against the state of Michigan, alleging that the ban on direct-to-consumer automobile sales was unconstitutional. In 2018, O'Melveny successfully represented Time Warner and AT&T in a landmark antitrust lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission and DOJ Antitrust Division, challenging the agencies' decision to deny a merger between the two companies.

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] The firm was hired by Guess for a similar investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Paul Marciano.[14] However, Kate Upton refused to participate until O'Melveny was replaced. [15]

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

O'Melveny & Myers was also referenced in an episode of Suits (season 3, episode 6) when Donna is deciding between which law firms she should work at. She says "I'm choosing between Bratton Gould, Skadden Arps, and O'Melveny & Myers."


  1. ^ Guarnaccia, Matthew (February 28, 2017). "O'Melveny & Myers Caps 2016 With 5% Revenue Growth". Law360.
  2. ^ a b c d e "O'Melveny & Myers LLP Company Rankings". Vault.com.
  3. ^ a b c d e "O'Melveny & Myers LLP - Company Profile". Vault.com.
  4. ^ Firm history
  5. ^ Baxter, Brian (March 30, 2018). "'Loyola 2L,' Once Retired, Returns Amid Call to End Law Firm NDAs". Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  6. ^ "O'Melveny Named To American Lawyer's A-List for Fifth Consecutive Year" (Press release). August 1, 2016.
  7. ^ "Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Appoints Sri Srinivasan as Principal Deputy Solicitor General" (Press release). United States Department of Justice. August 26, 2011.
  8. ^ Nakamura, David (January 4, 2008). "City Picks Head of Team for Supreme Court Case". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ Justices Lean Toward Individual Right to Bear Arms - U.S. News & World Report
  10. ^ TOTENBERG, NINA (June 26, 2008). "Supreme Court Strikes Down D.C. Handgun Ban". NPR.
  11. ^ Mauro, Tony (June 25, 2008). "Supreme Court Reduces Damages Awarded in Exxon Case". The National Law Journal.
  12. ^ "Special Board Committee of Wynn Resorts Retains Law Firm O'Melveny & Myers to Investigate Workplace Allegations Against Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn" (Press release). PRNewswire. February 2, 2018.
  13. ^ Velotta, Richard N. (February 12, 2018). "Wynn board panel hires new law firm to assist in Steve Wynn review". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  14. ^ Tribe, Meghan (February 14, 2018). "In Sexual Misconduct Merry-Go-Round, O'Melveny Loses One Role, Adds Another". The American Lawyer.
  15. ^ @KateUpton (28 February 2018). "Let's make true change happen!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. ^ Coopster4 (June 4, 2007), O'Melveny & Myers "Sopranos" Reference, YouTube

External links[edit]