Friday, August 7, 2020

Introduction and summary

       Welcome and thank you for visiting this site. I am a former attorney who used to work at O'Melveny & Myers. I was so surprised by what I saw there, that I took on the role of amateur journalist and started this website. Below is a summary of a few articles. I hope you find them informative.

O'Melveny's Director of Career Development

       One of many items of marketing from O'Melveny concerns their Director of Career Development, Jim Moore. They push articles about him and list him as an advantage when recruiting attorneys. I just saw one of these, and so I thought I'd do a post on an interaction I had with him.

Friday, July 31, 2020

"Top-ranked" restructuring partner gets recruited to O'Melveny; leaves two months later

       On June 1, O'Melveny announced their recruitment of Adam Rogoff, and legal periodicals also covered the move. (Links one, two and three.) O'Melveny's Chair Brad Butwin said he was "delighted" by Mr. Rogoff's arrival. When asked why he left his old firm, Mr. Rogoff praised O'Melveny and listed its advantages. . . . Two months later, Mr. Rogoff has returned to his prior firm of Kramer Levin. Nothing unethical about this on its face, but I include it because I've never heard of such a thing in professional services.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Attorney reprimanded after allegedly threatening scientists

       Before I get into the details of the story, please let me provide some background on Michael Walsh, because I worked with him at O’Melveny. He was one of the people who wrote my final review there. My impression was that he was another of the firm’s over-promoted associates: associates who had used political connections to get promoted to partner, and who were now making millions of dollars per year even though they didn’t really have much work or clients of their own. Of course, O’Melveny’s other money-grubbing partners are not keen on paying someone who isn’t pulling their weight -- and so I wasn't surprised to see him leave for government in 2018 after only five years as partner. I assume he’s trying to use the O’Melveny strategy of “monetizing” government positions to build a large private sector income stream for himself. Anyway, onto the story.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

O'Melveny's Brad Butwin lies about coronavirus pay cuts

       O'Melveny's Chair Brad Butwin gave an interview to the American Lawyer. In the interview, Mr. Butwin said that O'Melveny did not cut pay during the covid-19 crisis. This is big. Attorneys and clients are keeping track of firms that announced pay cuts, because it sends a signal, e.g., about how the firm treats employees, and the firm's financial condition. Mr. Butwin is providing them with useful information when he tells this reporter that O'Melveny did not change compensation. 

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Vulgar lawyers at O'Melveny

       As I was writing the last post about law students who felt misled by O'Melveny's Vault ranking – I noticed something. The one law student in that group who will actually work at O’Melveny had picked a vulgar moniker. His moniker was, “attenuate my taint.” The others picked unremarkable monikers, but when picking his moniker, the O'Melveny poster wanted you to think of his taint.1 It made me wonder if I should do a blog post about the vulgar people I met at O’Melveny. The challenge here is O’Melveny’s threat to sue me for defamation. Even if I’m telling the truth, I don’t want to be caught in a defamation case with only “he said, she said” evidence. That’s why I rely on news articles and other public documents to support the blog’s thesis. 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Law students complain that O'Melveny's Vault rankings are misleading

       One topic that keeps reappearing here is the Vault rankings, specifically the best firm to work for, best summer program, and best firm for diversity rankings. As explained previously, they are self-graded. Law firms give themselves a grade, and Vault uses these grades to rank the firms. For example, if a firm gives itself the highest possible score on diversity, Vault will rank it as the #1 firm in the world for diversity. I know that sounds incredible but that's how it works. Vault is using the honor system, expecting honesty and sincerity from lawyers. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Mansfield Rule and the lucrative world of law firm diversity marketing

       Back in 2017, O'Melveny ran a publicity campaign proclaiming their adherence to the Rooney Rule a.k.a. the Mansfield Rule. That rule requires "at least 30 percent of the candidates considered for various law firm positions, including ... lateral positions, [to be] women and attorneys of color." 

       Out of curiosity, I just skimmed O'Melveny's press releases, and clicked on every release announcing the hiring of a new partner. According to these press releases, the last nine partners O'Melveny hired, Mr. Adam RogoffMr. Michael Hamilton (who was sued for discrimination at his prior firm), Mr. Tim Evans, Mr. Todd Boes, Mr. Christopher Owens, Mr. Terrence Dugan, Mr. Michael Dreeben, Mr. Jeffery Norton, and Mr. Jason Kaplan, are all white men. Not that there's anything wrong with hiring white males; I'm a white male. But I wonder if O'Melveny actually considered any women or minorities for these positions.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

O'Melveny hires attorney accused of mistreatment at his prior firm

       Mr. Michael Hamilton and Mr. Tim Evans recently returned to O'Melveny from DLA Piper. Both of these men were named in a tragic lawsuit at their prior firm -- a lawsuit filed by a woman who spent much of her life struggling to raise her child as a single motherMr. Hamilton was named as an individual defendant and Mr. Evans's name appears in the body of the complaint. The only other attorney named as a defendant, Mr. Michael Meyer, also suddenly left DLA Piper this month.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Another case in which O’Melveny fights alleged Chinese torture victims

       Anecdotally, it seems like O'Melveny works on a certain type of case. Cases that might make you question your life choices. I first wrote about this here, and gave a few examples involving a rape case (posts one and two) and an opioid case (posts one, two and three). 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Monetizing government positions

       A reader asked me how I came to join O’Melveny. So I thought I'd do a post on that, as it also offers a segue to another topic I have been meaning to write about. I came to O'Melveny through a relationship with a former professor, Ted McAniff. When he offered me the chance to work with him, I jumped at it. Imagine everything you would learn and the opportunities you would get at such a prestigious organization. I was excited.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Attorney joins O'Melveny, loses her health and her child, and O'Melveny's benefit provider is fighting her disability claim

       I remember this young woman. I spoke with her for about thirty minutes at a firm event around 2016. She was bright, upbeat, funny, and had recently graduated from the University of Chicago School of Law. She had a wonderful future in front of her. Fast forward three years and she has suffered the tragic loss of her health and child, and she risks becoming homeless due to O'Melveny's benefit provider refusing to pay her disability claim. I saw this at O'Melveny too often. People with bright futures and options would arrive, and they would leave worse off. I can't talk about them, as they did not go public like this young woman, but they're one reason I created this blog. 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The feast or famine life of an O’Melveny partner

       When interacting with O’Melveny's partners, you might have noticed that they sell their services aggressively. Perhaps you've read news reports accusing them of doing unprincipled things for their clients. They appear to be hungry. I was recently informed of a public resource that might explain this behavior. It provides a decade of financials for a particular O’Melveny group.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Allen & Overy walks away from O'Melveny merger

       Allen & Overy and O’Melveny called off their planned merger. The deal reportedly collapsed because O'Melveny's partners wanted more money, and Allen & Overy decided to walk away. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

This blog's web address

       I just noticed that this blog has twenty five posts. It's turning into a book. And these aren't forced posts. I don't have an article quota to fill, like you see in for-profit blogs. Every time I write a post, I assume it will be the last one. Then the press releases another troubling story related to O'Melveny, that needs to be included in this compendium. Assuming once again that this is the blog's last entry, I should take a moment to explain its odd web address.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

O'Melveny's revenue-obsessed lawyers might not give the best advice

       The judge ruled against Johnson & Johnson and O'Melveny in the Oklahoma opioid trial. The decision received quite a bit of press, and it might have permanently tarnished Johnson & Johnson's reputation. Yet in all of the analysis, no one discussed the law firm economics aspect of the ruling, i.e., that O'Melveny might view it as one flow down a lucrative "pipeline."

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Subjective, false and misleading

       Last week, legal reporters covered an O'Melveny employee's attempt to remove information from Wikipedia. The Wikipedia article stated that O'Melveny "supported" the Trump administration by "defend[ing] Donald Trump against a lawsuit over Trump University, . . . vett[ing] the president's nominees, . . . represent[ing] the Trump inaugural committee when it was investigated, . . . [and] represent[ing] President Trump's commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, over allegations of conflicted investments." 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Did O'Melveny ruin Vault's honor system?

       The career advice website Vault released its "best firm to work for" and "best firm for diversity" rankings. These are released each year and, as I explained in a prior post, they rely on the honor system. A firm's score is based on the opinions of the firm's own lawyers, and only the firm's lawyers. The idea is that if asked about their firm's diversity or quality of life -- lawyers would be conscientious, thoughtful and ethical enough to answer honestly.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

O'Melveny's opioid pipeline

       The first in a series of opioid trials is being televised. (And for good reason. An article suggests that hundreds of thousands of people might have died because judges sealed evidence of pharmaceutical companies' wrongdoing.) The plaintiff in this trial is the State of Oklahoma, and they seek funds to mitigate and abate the crisis. The situation is dire, as one study estimates that opioids could kill half a million Americans in the next decade. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

O'Melveny's values

       One of the refreshing aspects of the Mueller report, is the ethics shown by white house counsel Don McGahn. According to the report, the President pressured Mr. McGahn to fire Mr. Mueller and end the investigation, under the pretext that Mr. Mueller was conflicted. But despite feeling apprehensive and "worn down" -- Mr. McGahn stuck to his principles and said he would resign before firing Mr. Mueller.

Monday, March 25, 2019

An O'Melveny alumnus gets arrested while negotiating an "independent investigation" retainer

       Under the "independent investigation" business model, alleged wrongdoers pay O'Melveny's white collar practice millions of dollars to investigate and judge their acts. For example, when USC was accused of mishandling sexual abuse, they hired O'Melveny to investigate and decide who was at fault. When a Lions Gate executive was accused of sexual misconduct, they hired O'Melveny to perform a "thorough and independent" investigation and decide whether there was any wrongdoing.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

O'Melveny shows off money they made off of an alleged rape victim's misery

       Two years ago, I started this blog, partly to inform and protect others, and partly to cleanse my soul. And it worked. But it's grown much larger than I expected. It was only meant to be one post, but things keep popping up in the news.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Does an O'Melveny lawyer's profit motive interfere? (Please let me tell you about "margin")

       A month ago, a tweet made its way around the internet. In it, a young woman described a chilling ordeal she went through after allegedly being raped. It’s the sort of thing that causes you to step back and question what sort of society we live in.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Please feel free to contact me if you need help

       Two weeks ago, someone wrote me anonymously to complain of sexual offenses by a partner at a law firm. I wanted to help this person, but I couldn't put the partner or firm on this website, due to a lack of personal knowledge or corroborating evidence. Doing so could be unfair to the accused party and libelous (I need to be careful because some firms are vicious when trying to cover up mistreatment, as you can see from O'Melveny's two threatening letters.) Faced with this catch-22, I came up with an effective solution that was very well-received by the person who wrote me.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

O'Melveny & Myers and Allen & Overy -- two firms that reportedly enabled Harvey Weinstein's sexual assaults -- are about to merge

       A troubling aspect of Mr. Weinstein's sexual assaults is that they could have been prevented if, back in 2004, O'Melveny did not reportedly humiliate and threaten one of his victims into silence. In some ways, Mr. Weinstein was also the victim of such terrible lawyering. Instead of setting him straight, they enabled and emboldened his worst behavior.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

How O'Melveny reportedly whitewashed sexual harassment at Lions Gate

       This week, the Wall Street Journal and other sites wrote about alleged sexual assaults by Lions Gate general counsel Wayne Levin. It's a case study of how companies pay O'Melveny to whitewash sexual harassment. 

       When the victim complained, Lions Gate hired O'Melveny's Adam Karr to "thoroughly and independently" investigate the allegations. The whitewashing started with Mr. Karr conducting a reportedly sham investigation that "couldn't corroborate [the victim's] allegations." Having exonerated the company, they proceeded to the next step in the whitewashing, paying the victim to keep quiet.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Which law firms lie on their Vault self-reports? Here is a way to find out

       The career advice website Vault published another set of "best firms to work for" and "best firms for diversity" rankings. In total, there are twenty-four rankings, e.g. there is a ranking for hours, for training, for compensation, for culture, and so on. For each ranking, Vault asks lawyers to grade their own firm. It then uses these grades to rank the firms. For example, if Firm A receives an average grade of 10.0 from its attorneys, and Firm B receives an average grade of 8.5 from its attorneys, Firm A will be ranked higher than Firm B. Thus a firm can attain a high ranking by pressuring its attorneys to lie, and give it undeservedly high scores.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Another threatening letter from O'Melveny

       After hearing about the USC matter, I corresponded and spoke with a reporter to do what little I could to warn USC sexual abuse victims about O'Melveny's purported impartial investigations. This led to another threatening letter from O'Melveny.

Friday, June 1, 2018

More whitewashing

       After being sued by a flood of victims over sexual abuse that it allegedly concealed for decades, and after a police investigation -- the University of Southern California is starting damage control by using its long-time attorney O'Melveny to conduct an "independent investigation." Given O'Melveny's past in sexual abuse matters, I believe they will act as USC's advocate and do whatever they can do minimize USC's liability.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The late Judge Reinhardt's time at O'Melveny

       After reading an article on the passing of Judge Stephen Reinhardt, I googled around a bit to learn more about this fascinating person. Apparently he used to work at O'Melveny, and these were his experiences:

Sunday, February 11, 2018

O'Melveny's sexual harassment investigations

       I just read that Wynn Resorts hired O'Melveny to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by Steve Wynn. Guess has also hired O'Melveny to perform "an extensive and impartial investigation" into alleged sexual harassment by Paul Marciano (and Guess legal head Anne Deedwania used to work at O'Melveny). Assisting with the Guess investigation is Glaser Weil, the firm men hire when accused of sexual harassment in the #MeToo era.

Monday, October 30, 2017

O'Melveny reportedly threatened one of Harvey Weinstein's victims

       Someone sent me this New York Times link. I do not know if it's true, but I wouldn't be surprised. Based on my observations -- the firm does not value laws that protect victims, and instead sees them as something to be gamed via maneuvering, intimidation, legal technicalities and/or forced confidentiality.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

You had to pretend a lot

       This will probably be the last entry, as I've moved on. But I did want to share these remaining thoughts, in case someone went to the trouble of finding this blog to learn of another's experiences.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Vault tells minorities to join shrinking and demographically stagnant firms

       The website Vault ranked O'Melveny & Myers as the third best law firm for diversity

       Below is a chart from Vault's own database showing the percentage of white male equity partners at O'Melveny over the last decade, along with the same information for the industry as a whole. While the rest of the industry decreased this number from 80% to 75% -- O'Melveny was stuck at 80%. (Which is especially bad when you realize its starting class was always about one-third white male. Imagine the number of prejudiced decisions required to consistently turn a 33% white male population into an 80% white male population.) This performance gets you third place at Vault.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Don't complain about torture or discrimination to Bank of America's General Counsel David Leitch

       I received a few emails and phone calls in response to the prior post. Some shared similar experiences at O'Melveny -- situations where someone naively believed the marketing and stood up to unfair acts, only to be fired. One told me about how this happened to a friend, and how it was unforgettable because it left his once spry friend a "broken man" (I wasn't surprised as I saw a similar thing myself.) Others offered general sympathy and support.

Friday, April 21, 2017

O'Melveny's threatening letter

       Their General Counsel Martin Checov sent me a letter on April 18. The letter does not comment on torture, their deficient human resources department, or their retaliation against employees who complain. And it does not contain an apology. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

O'Melveny & Myers and mandatory arbitration and nondisclosure agreements

       I write this post for peace of mind, and to do what little I can to create some good in the world.

       On April 30th, 2015, after three years with this firm during which I received nothing but praise from others -- I told Brian Boyle that I did not want to work with someone who had made an anti-Muslim comment. Brian's first response a few days later was to tell me he would terminate me, and he then started winding down my work. I thought this was illegal under employment law, but I accepted it and prepared to move on. Anti-Muslim comments were not that unusual, and I didn't want to waste my time and energy fighting to stay somewhere I wasn't wanted.

       But this changed when I discovered his past. Brian used to be a Guantanamo Bay torture attorney who made statements so cruel they would make Dick Cheney or John Yoo give pause. He also reportedly lied to a federal court. It was no wonder he responded to me as he did. I felt I had to attempt to stand up to him. So I asked for help from the firm's diversity group, reaching out to Leader of Diversity and Inclusion Mary Ellen Connerty and Diversity and Inclusion Partner Walter Dellinger. I provided a detailed chronology of events, and wrote the memo below. O'Melveny always marketed its diversity efforts, its annual "diversity days" and its diversity committees. They would do something about this.

            *            *            *

Date:   July 13, 2015
To:      O'Melveny & Myers LLP [Director of Human Resources Stacie Straw]
Re:      Chair of the Financial Services practice

       Please note that the purpose of this communication is to express a negative statement. Please accept my apologies in advance for this unpleasant letter.

       According to the articles below, in 2004, as lead attorney charged with defending the Guantanamo Bay detentions, Brian Boyle unequivocally told a federal court that there was nothing "remotely like torture" at Guantanamo Bay (It is now publicly acknowledged that there was torture and detainment of people who had no real connection to the war; in fact, the since-repudiated government memos authorizing such torture were written back in 2002.[1]) Brian also told the court that information gained via torture is admissible evidence. Further, he said that any person, with any inadvertent connection to the war, could be captured anywhere in the world and sent to Guantanamo. For example, an “old lady in Switzerland” could be captured and sent to Guantanamo if she donated money to an orphan charity that, unbeknownst to her, turned out to be connected to the Taliban. A teacher in London could be captured and sent to Guantanamo if one of his students turned out to be part of a family that had a connection to the Taliban.

       Brian's statements are not limited to court proceedings; they are his personal views. For example, he spoke in 2005 on The Diane Rehm Show. In this interview, he criticized the Geneva Convention's protections, stating, "this can't be Marquess of Queensberry [the rules for boxing matches]. The interrogation techniques that are permitted with respect to Geneva POWs are exceedingly limited. And I think there is no reason therefore to apply to protections of Geneva" to Guantanamo detainees. He also criticized his debate opponent’s "habeas litigation" because it was "having undesirable consequences on the performance of the mission at Guantanamo, undesirable consequences for the gathering of additional intelligence from the detainees down there . . .."

       Please allow me to provide an example, to explain why this issue is important. I am currently litigating in the Iranian civil and criminal courts to recover properties that were embezzled from my late murdered father (and please note I have specific permission from the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control). In this effort, I have encountered viciousness, threats and attempts to use anti-Americanism against me. But I also encountered idealistic people who believe in the rule of law in Iran, even if it benefits an American. There are different kinds of attorneys and judges in the world – some promote civility and the rule of law; others use their position to create a more corrupt and lawless world.

       As lead attorney with the power to supervise Guantanamo Bay, Brian was put in a historic position. He could have used his authority to protect the rule of law, and the idealism that our country creates. Instead, he argued that the United States should be as lawless, arbitrary and brutal as any despotic regime.

       In my opinion, this history shows that Brian might not use authority in an honest and responsible manner. In addition, Brian seems to dehumanize people, particularly people with a connection to Islam. I suspect that dishonest use of pretext and dehumanization manifested in his interactions with me, as detailed in the e-mail of July 3. But regardless of his interactions with me, for the above reasons, I do not believe he should be given management authority at a firm with the standards of O'Melveny & Myers.

[1] For background, see Jens David Ohlin, The Torture Lawyers, 51 Harv. Int'l L.J. 193 (2010) or Michael P. Scharf, The Torture Lawyers, 20 Duke J. Comp. & Int'l L. 389 (2010).

            *            *            *

       I waited, but human resources never contacted me. Instead, they suddenly shipped me to St. Louis to sit with Brian in a war room, where I had to be quiet to avoid harming the case. This was not a coincidence; in the past three years I had never worked with Brian, or in this matter's area of law, until this case. What could I do? It was either go and hope for the best or quit.

       Then they sicced Adam Karr on me, a litigator who defends employers accused of discrimination. His first question was whether I wanted to drop the complaint, and he then made it clear via browbeating that I should keep quiet ("I'm not an ombudsman I'm an attorney for the firm." "I don't have to answer that I'm not responding to a subpoena." "I hope I don't hear from you again. You'll be an employee with a pattern of complaining." "It seems like you don't want to work here." [These may not be word-for-word accurate quotes as I'm going from memory, but they're very close.])

       After that I was moved into Brian's subgroup even though it was outside of my area of expertise (although Brian was the head of the department as a whole, he worked in the ERISA subgroup, whereas I previously worked in bank regulatory and consumer finance subgroup.) In his group, I was treated like a persona non grata and told my career and compensation were at a dead end.

       I tried to stay positive, but apprehension started to linger as I wondered what they would do next. My office was on the floor where they tell employers how to legally get rid of complaining employees, and where they defend schools accused of allowing rape and other sexual misconduct. Almost every day I overheard such machinations against victims. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night with feelings of dread and panic. I wrote Adam Karr to tell him that this situation was bizarre and uncomfortable, but was ignored. Curious for another perspective, I spent thousands of dollars on therapy, where I was constantly told that I was fine, that they were doing this intentionally, and that the only solution was to find a new job.

       Eventually I realized it was pointless. During my February 27 review I glanced at the document to see there would be no raise or promotion. I wasn't surprised; although I made one-fifteenth of the average partner's 2016 profits, worked a grueling schedule and consistently received good reviews -- Brian hadn't given me a raise or promotion in five years. So I sat there quietly. Brian asked if I saw the tear sheet that lists the raise or promotion. Yes, saw it. He then spent about 20 seconds showing how his outstretched arms could reach from one side of my unusually small office to the other, while his junior partner cackled (comments about my lower "status" were common.)

       Next I was ordered to perform a conflicts check by using Google searches to find all business connections between 140 combinations of companies. Perform 140 google searches and skim the dozens of results that appeared under each search, looking for conflicts, even though Google wouldn't find them all. Google searches are not a credible way to check for conflicts. 
And this at a firm with a history of conflict of interest issues. I called around and learned that both the library and conflicts group had turned it down before it was assigned to me. I was now being given curious and unethical tasks that the administrators wouldn't do. I couldn't continue this for another year. Brian and his team were going to mess me with me until I left, and it would only get worse. So I gave up, told them I would quit as soon as I found another job and criticized the handling of my 2015 complaint. I expected them to just let me move me quietly. No. The next day, after finishing a task, I checked my email to see Brian had terminated me suddenly with no severance or transition assistance.

       This brings me to the reason why I made this blog. O'Melveny is able to respond to complaints in the manner above, because they force employees to sign away their rights. To work at O'Melveny, you must sign this document (pp. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). It states that victims of "discrimination or sexual harassment" cannot go to court, and they cannot talk about what happened. They have to use O'Melveny's confidential dispute resolution process. O'Melveny clings to this document -- even though it has repeatedly been declared unconscionable by the courts -- because victim silence is key.

       I hope this site helps protect others.

       Thank you for granting me the dignity of reading my post, and God bless. (And if you're wondering, I've felt fine, wonderful even, since leaving.)

       [Addendum: O'Melveny has reportedly stopped forcing employees to sign the document, after a campaign by law students.]

            *            *            *

The following is a public list of O'Melveny & Myers's attorneys and managers provided in the hopes that if they discriminate against you (or are themselves discriminated against) -- this site is found and read before anyone hurts themselves by complaining to the diversity group or human resources. 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