March 31, 2023

Don't expect sympathy from O'Melveny's partners; they have their own problems

       According to the Wall Street Journal, law firms are conducting layoffs, some overt and some "stealth." So I guess now is a good time to do a post that's been shelved for a while. 

       One day at lunch, an O'Melveny partner shared a story about a ski trip she went on with her children. One of them had gotten into a bad accident, I think he hit something, after which he complained of dizziness. She said that she ignored his concerns and ordered him to get right back up the hill, prefacing it with something like, "you know me." 

       This woman worked on the firm's worst cases, ones where her job was to deny compensation for the most tragic and devastating of injuries. And associates complained about her, even to me, someone who had never worked in her group and had zero management authority. One said that after he turned in a brief, she would force him to sit there and watch her edit it line by line, even though he had other things he needed to get done that day. Another said that, during a trial where they stayed at a hotel and worked 80-100 hour weeks, this partner got upset when she saw attorneys taking a break around midnight at the hotel bar, and complained that they could be working on documents. 

       Based on all this, I assumed she was just a tough person and consistent about it. No concern for the injured people she faced, the associates working for her, or her child's possible concussion. Maybe that was part of it, but later I learned that she was going through a divorce,1 and who knows what else. 

       So if you're a twenty-something associate with your life ahead of you -- please be careful about expecting sympathy or empathy from O'Melveny's partners. They may not be the happy, affable and generous people you imagined. Rather, they might be dealing with things worse than any of your concerns.

Like the other two divorce posts, I won't share the documents without O'Melveny's permission (although again these are public documents that anyone can download from the court's website.) But since people joining O'Melveny seem interested in money, see below for that snippet from the divorce judgment. The rest of the documents reveal the standard stuff; e.g. that she had to pay her ex alimony and child support due to her high income.