January 21, 2023

What an O'Melveny partner's profit distribution documents look like

       I was wondering if I should post these, which come from public filings in a divorce case. Since this website's goal is to educate about the firm, I might as well. Readers may want to know what a partner's distribution package looks like. This partner also has a backstory that touches on O'Melveny's culture. (Besides, I have jury duty next week and the profession is on my mind again, so I might as well write a post.)

       I actually met this woman and worked with her on a few matters. She was promoted to partner a few years ago. The most interesting story about her, is that she and another partner ended the careers of a group of associates. They did so after taking over a client from an attorney who had left over money issues. 

       That departing attorney had, I want to say, eight or so associates helping him. When these two women took over they made that entire team transfer their knowledge. Then they gradually stopped giving them work. I can only speculate as to the reasons. In any case, the prior team was now struggling to meet their billable hour requirements, and they slowly left. 

       Last I heard, one was coding, one was a career counselor at a law school, one stopped working for years and then took a job at a small law firm, one was doing compliance, one works for a county, and one works for a city. I think there were a few more that I don't remember; it's been a while. That was O'Melveny's culture. A group of dedicated and hard-working attorneys had their careers derailed, just because these two decided to stop giving them work.

       Don't feel bad for the associates though. In the universe of unfairness what happened to them is trivial. This website has much worse examples, e.g. the half a million Americans and counting who have lost their lives as a result of the actions of lawyers and lobbyists, including O'Melveny.

       Getting back to the topic of this post ... I'll ask O'Melveny's public relations people if I can publish the full 99-page document, and won't until I get their permission. It's a public document that anyone can download from the court's website but I'll let them decide. 

       Maybe they'll even share this information on their own, for all partners. I mean, what is the point of keeping it secret? Are they hiding it from other O'Melveny partners, who might be upset because they make less than they feel they deserve? From employees, who might be annoyed at being nickel and dimed? From clients, who might push back on billing rates? From victims, who might see how much an O'Melveny partner makes for contriving machinations to deny them compensation for an injury? 

       For now, below is the redacted first page for 2019 and 2020, which has the key numbers. For reference, O'Melveny made $396 million in profit in 2019, and $457 million in profit in 2020, split among about 170 partners in each year. And remember that this was a junior partner, so the numbers will be bigger for more senior partners. 

       The only other interesting thing I saw in the docket was that, after her husband filed for divorce, he received not only his share of community property, but due to her high income, he also received alimony and child support.
O'Melveny, OMM, compensation, salary, income, wages, 610 Newport Center Drive17th Floor, Newport Beach, CA 92660
O'Melveny profits per partner compensation

O'Melveny profits per partner compensation