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.  

       And of course it isn't only O'Melveny.  All law firms probably love it when their clients get sued, because that's how they make money. For example, a partner at another firm, Akin Gump, couldn't even wait for the lawsuit to be announced. He was so impatient that he stole secret documents about impending government enforcement actions. After his arrest, he said he did it to “identify clients to solicit for business when I was in practice and, thereby, to make myself more successful at Akin Gump.” Life at big law firms is an endlessly desperate quest to get hired and bill hours, and none of that can happen until someone sues someone.

       A new lawsuit is big news at law firms. And O'Melveny appears to be salivating at the thought of the next administration's enforcement actions (to borrow their "eat what you kill" metaphor.) The Biden administration hasn't even taken office yet, and O'Melveny is already giving a presentation anticipating the lawsuits it will file. 

       Just like the Akin Gump partner, the nine speakers at this event all worked in government until a public servant's salary was no longer enough. I haven't heard of them stealing documents to get a leg up on the competition, but they have other sales techniques. One of them claims that he can get better results because he knows people at the Department of Justice. Another constantly tells people that he knows Vice President Kamala Harris. (Links onetwothree, four and five, among others. What's funny is that a partner at another law firm is actually married to Ms. Harris. If anyone can credibly drop her name, it's him. But he resigned his position rather than have people think that he was trying to profit off of the relationship.) 

       [Addendum: They scheduled a second such event, centered on the antitrust lawsuits they expect (hope for) from the Biden administration. Hurry it up with the lawsuits President Biden. O'Melveny's partners need to make money.]
   omm, omelveny, o'melveny, Daniel Suvor, Ben Singer, Doug Emhoff, DLA Piper