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.

       One day at lunch in the cafeteria, a bunch of partners suddenly sat down around me and the few other juniors as we were having lunch. I remember most of them; Rich Goetz, Carla Christofferson, and Seth Aronson were in the group. And Mr. Moore also joined. Eventually, Jim talked about a trip to Asia, and how he was focusing his career development efforts there. He described a lunch he had with someone, and an altercation with a waiter. The details aren't important. Any way, at that time I was trying to blend in and ingratiate myself to the people at O'Melveny. So I said something along the lines of how interesting it must be to travel all over the world as part of your job. 

       He agreed, and then said, "but I would never go to Iran," with a glare directed right at me. I'm Iranian by the way. Rich Goetz added that an O'Melveny partner was from Iran, and that he probably chanted, "death to America" in his youth. Carla agreed. My attempt at small talk had suddenly gotten very uncomfortable. But I couldn't leave, so I sat quietly until the lunch was over. (And, by the way, I have never spoken with the Iranian partner and don't know anything about him.)

       Now, O'Melveny doesn't have an office in Iran, and there's no reason why Jim would fly there. His reply was a non-sequitur. And of course, such comments weren't that unusual. A partner made an issue of my background during my first week at O'Melveny. A female associate chided him for it, and I later got along with him. These things happen and I don't mean to make too big a deal of it. But after this encounter, I generally avoided Jim.

        The reason I avoided Jim wasn't so much because of that lunch, but mainly because he didn't seem to be that great at his job. I say that because associates shared stories about the difficulties they had at O'Melveny, and none of them pointed to Jim as a helpful resource. Why would they? Jim had spent his career jumping from firm to firm in junior attorney positions, until finally landing this no-billable-hours job. He also had an edgy personality, as shown above, or in this article I just read about law firm career development personnel. While career development managers from other firms describe the services they offer and list stats on number of attorneys they placed -- Jim calls lawyers "paranoid" and claims he's "like [a] therap[ist]." 

       I could share so many other anecdotes about O'Melveny's human resources and administration folks. Indeed, this website exists solely because of them. You can read the first post to see how a foolish decision to contact them started an unforeseen chain of events that led to that post. Seven months later, someone sent me the sexual assault story to add. After a few years, I had added so many posts that I registered a new domain name around the unifying theme of ethics. But it all grew organically. Initially, I didn't know about the troubles others had with O'Melveny. 
       Even through my last difficult year, I always gave my best on projects and it shows in my final review. I would never think of hurting matters I was entrusted with; I don't need that on my conscience. But with the human resources folks, it almost seemed like they were trying to sabotage things, trying to make everyone's life more difficult than it needed to be. I wasn't the only one who thought this. Who knows, maybe Dilbert was right about Catbert, the "evil director of human resources." Any way, that's what I know about O'Melveny's Director of Career Development.
James Moore, Career Development, Salary, O'Melveny, omm, human resources, compensation, hiring, recruiting, Richard Goetz, George Demos