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.

       In December, after being troubled by her story, I wrote a post about a young woman. I haven't spoken with her and don't know her, but in reading her tweets, this is not an average woman. Despite tragedies during her childhood, like losing her father at a young age, she somehow jumped the hurdles required to get into Harvard University. Her focus was social work. There, she was allegedly raped, and it threw her life down a different path. After months of anguish, during which she sought help from the school, she eventually filed a lawsuit against the school. This suit not only sacrificed her time and energy, but it also resulted in the revocation of her dream job offer. You can read about the suit in the prior post. She is still dealing with this life-altering event. She calls herself a survivor and her tweets are sprinkled with flashbacks.

       People with poor character are corrupted by injustice, but not her. She responded by working to help others. She had never known an attorney prior to being assaulted and presumably had no interest in the law, but the injustice she felt forced her to take out loans to go to law school, with the hope of helping other victims.

       Getting back to her lawsuit . . . In my prior post I talked about the profit motive of lawyers, and whether it interferes. As an example, I wondered if O'Melveny had done a disservice to their client Harvard University, by dragging out this young woman's trauma to maximize the "margin" that O'Melveny's partners were obsessed with. I don't know the answer to that question, as I don't know anything about her case and how litigation decisions were made. It was just a thought; a speculative comment on what I saw in the firm's culture.

       Then I saw this article. The article brags about O'Melveny's income and revenue. O'Melveny's chair Brad Butwin boasts that "the firm hit on all cylinders in the last year" and earned millions of dollars of profit per partner. How did they make so much money? Part of it was from her case. O'Melveny specifically brags about the money they made off of her case.

       Maybe one day I'll write about how excited partners got when a tragic case showed up on the docket alert system, and the frantic effort to pitch for the work. Imagine thinking you've entered a dignified profession -- only to see people sitting around waiting for something awful to occur, so they can use 300% markups to get rich off the misery.