Saturday, December 12, 2020

O'Melveny hopes its clients get sued

       One of the most interesting things I saw in my stint in the legal profession was how gleeful partners became when a client was sued or investigated. Normally, people are happy if something good happens to their client. But these partners were happy when something awful happened to a client. They couldn't contain their joy as they thought of staffing attorneys on the matter, billing, and growing their partner distributions. One partner joked about this at lunch, noting how much money another group had made after a deadly explosion at a client's plant. Yes, if there was a massive explosion at your plant that killed people, forcing you to call your lawyers at O'Melveny -- know that their eyes are probably welling up with tears of joy as they think of the millions they will make off of your tragedy. This is business of O'Melveny.  

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Favoring the children of prominent people

        A few weeks ago I took a trip to the beach. It was depressing near the Santa Monica pier, which has turned into a homeless enclave. Here’s a man sleeping, here’s another man sleeping, and here’s one folding up his tent. The expressions on their faces were heartbreaking, a mix of bewilderment, anger and worry. It’s a testament to the heartlessness of the city’s privileged leadership. I could just see Mayor Eric Garcetti talking to one of the homeless: 

Sorry dude, you were born to the wrong person. My dad's Gil Garcetti. He was politically connected, so I get to be mayor. Your parents were nobodies, so you’re a bum. You never heard of my dad Gil? How dare you? He rose to prominence by hogging the camera after his office botched the O.J. Simpson murder trial. So I live like a king, and you live like this.

Who am I kidding; Mr. Garcetti would never lower himself to talk to a homeless person. He reportedly wastes $30 million of city funds each year to harass the homeless, and he compared them to horseshit.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Old tale; new tactics, victims and weapons

       When I was in law school, a Chinese LL.M. student introduced me to the Opium Wars. Back the 1700s and 1800s, the British empire made a fortune by selling opium to Chinese. Seeing all the death and waste it caused, a succession of Chinese administrators tried to restrict the drug starting in 1729, with no luck. Eventually, in 1839, the Daoguang Emperor put his foot down, naively thinking he could finally rid his country of the drug. No, the British attacked and after a series of victories, they forced him to continue allowing the import of opium for decades. This chain of events had a devastating impact on China, one that will likely haunt its memories forever.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

O’Melveny chose not to stop racist comments about a judge, and partners "dating" associates

       Back when President Trump was running for office, he had an awful case around his neck. Former students of Trump University had sued him and the school for fraud. So he asked O’Melveny & Myers to get rid of it. Mother Jones just released a video of a break in one of the case’s depositions (rejecting O'Melveny's demand that they destroy the video.) During the break, Mr. Trump told an O'Melveny lawyer, Mr. Daniel Petrocelli, that he was concerned about the judge’s "Spanish" background.  

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

O'Melveny lawyer threatened scientists in a way that had "life-and-death consequences"

       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.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

O'Melveny's human resources

       One of O'Melveny's marketing efforts concerns their Director of Career Development, Jim Moore. They push articles about him and, in writing the May post, I saw O'Melveny list him as an advantage in recruiting materials. So I thought I'd write about an interaction I had with Jim.

Thursday, June 04, 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. 

Tuesday, June 02, 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, 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 person 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. 

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.