O'Melveny & Myers LLP - The Inside View

Top energy and media litigation practices enough to light a spark? Don’t worry, this Cali local is all O’ver it.

Don’t be fooled by the California label. While O’Melveny is a well-known California native, it’s got enough charm to put even the most Southern gentleperson to shame. This is apt too, since the firm’s most recent office expansions (just over three years ago) focused on the Texan market. O'Melveny made its way to Austin, Dallas, and Houston, in that order, going on to establish an award-winning Texas litigation practice. O’Melveny has managed to charm its associates, too: “I was looking for a personal connection, and despite being a large international firm with a high standing, O’Melveny didn’t seem fake.” Another agreed that the firm “carries the reputation of the culture that exists here – it separates itself from other BigLaw firms because it’s genuine in practicing what it preaches to create a welcoming environment.”

“…it separates itself from other BigLaw firms because it’s genuine in practicing what it preaches to create a welcoming environment.”

With its impressive track record, O’Melveny isn’t a hard sell for associates looking to “add a shining star to their resume.” This West Coast heavyweight scores a host of strong rankings in Chambers USA for its antitrust, corporate crime & investigations, ERISA litigation, IP, insurance disputes and projects practices nationwide. If that wasn’t enough, there’s gold-standardmedia & entertainment litigation and tax offerings in California, along with commercial litigation and white-collar crime and government investigations in New York. Our associates could be found largely between these two states, with the rest in DC and Texas.

Strategy & Future

O’Melveny has “brought on a few new prominent partners” this year - the most recent being former federal prosecutor David Kelley in New York - part of a strategic effort to expand the white-collar practice. The firm’s overseas offices have seen a number of partner promotions as well, including lateral hire Gregory Campbell in London’s corporate finance practice. O’Melveny has also announced the launch of a national security enforcement task force comprised of former public sector attorneys, to guide its clientele through the introduction of more stringent national security matters by Congress and other agencies at the federal level.

The Work

At the firm, you pick between corporate and litigation, and since associates all start as generalists, you can “try whatever you want as a first year!” You then declare which practice group you want to work in after your third or fourth year. Our interviewees were grateful for this process: “Picking a practice group in your summer would be absurd – you barely even crack the surface as a first year!” Across both practices and all offices, staffing was described as “very open market,” with plenty of “room for juniors to build their own practice by forming bonds with more senior attorneys at the firm.” There is also a formal staffing coordinator that you can “reach out to whenever you feel like you’re lagging or need more work.” Juniors appreciated this hybrid approach as it provides “guard rails in case you’re drowning or not busy at all.” Also, it allows for some flexibility because “each person gets work a different way – some people are all work coordination, some are 100% relationship staffed, and others are in the middle.”

“One year at O’Melveny is like four years of law school…”

O’Melveny’s litigation offering is the jewel in the firm’s decorated crown, and its associates were rightfully wowed: “One year at O’Melveny is like four years of law school in terms of how much you learn!” Popular subgroups amongst juniors include media & entertainment, white collar crime and internal investigations, insurance, labor & employment, securities, restructuring, IP & technology, and antitrust. Clients within these groups are all “big names” with most being media & entertainment companies and bigger corporate clients, but a fair few are in the healthcare sector or financial services industry.

As for what our associates were tasked with, we were told that they weren’t given “stereotypical first-year grunt work… sure there’s doc review, but sometimes that’s wanted!” The work is largely substantive in litigation, but “the responsibilities depend on the matter you’re working on. If you’re on a larger matter with a bigger team, there’s more of the standard junior work like doc review.” That said, “there are lots of research-heavy tasks and opportunities for growth that aren’t common as a first year. I’ve gotten to work on briefs, be in witness interviews, go to hearings, and attend meetings with the Department of Justice!” Other responsibilities include prepping and second-chairing depositions, writing the first draft of a motion, and more administrative tasks like keeping track of case scheduling and deadlines: “Each day is different because I’m on a plethora of matters.” This source went on to praise O’Melveny for being “a place where if they feel you’re ready for something, they’ll give it to you no matter what year you are. But you’re never thrown to the wolves! They always give you enough resources to do what you’re challenged to do.”

Litigation clients: Google, NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Company. Representing CNN America and Turner Service regarding the December 2021 dismissal of former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.

Work in the corporate practice at the firm covers everything from M&A and private equity to real estate, capital markets, funds, energy and project development. Clearly, there’s no shortage of work to go around, and part and parcel with this is a great deal of cross-departmental collaboration. “All the groups have their own thing,” one associate described, “but that’s not all they do. Every group has a breadth of work that then slots into the work that other people mesh with.” The clientele for the group includes large entertainment companies, banks, private equity funds, startups, and well-known tech companies, although there are some more niche clients in the firm’s smaller practices. One interviewee highlighted the benefits of a varied practice: “Since every deal is different, you can learn a lot about aspects of different businesses and what makes them stand out. It’s really exciting!”

“You can step into a building and it’s one that you worked on!”

Naturally, juniors can find themselves doing due diligence, but they also spoke of “interacting with clients, taking the first crack at drafting most agreements, and managing workflows to ensure to that the counsel and partners on my teams aren’t missing anything.” Favorite tasks amongst our associates were those that had a tangible impact on the world around them, such as getting a startup off the ground or large infrastructure projects, as one junior enthused: “You can step into a building and it’s one that you worked on!”

Corporate clients: Citibank, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Guess?. Represented USA Water Polo in agreements to secure venues for various events leading up to the 2028 Summer Olympics.

Career Development

Associates were unanimous that “O’Melveny supports our desire to grow as attorneys, whether that’s in or outside of the firm.” You’re assigned formal mentors when you start, but organic mentorship is where the firm shines: “I’ve gotten really close to the partners I’ve been working with, and they’ve been a big source of encouragement. I know they’re looking out for me.” Having various mentors means that “even if one of your mentors isn’t available, there are like ten other people who you can go to!” Junior associate life at O’Melveny is also packed full with training and CLE for its associates, including a New Associates Leadership Academy. “We all went to Pasadena and had a few days of full-on training for both substantive and behavioral skills,” an interviewee told us, “because it was a few months in, we came into it intentionally, and it felt like a safe space to ask the dumb questions we’ve wanted to ask since we’ve started!”

“The firm wants you to stay, but they’re not going to stop you from following your dreams.”

“One of the first things I noticed is that O’Melveny alumni are everywhere,” one source chipped in, “they’re in the government, doing podcasts, on a secondment, prepping to start their own businesses. The firm wants you to stay, but they’re not going to stop you from following your dreams.” Specifically, the firm’s director of career development was cited as an invaluable resource for “looking at both work and life beyond the firm and walking you through opportunities you might be interested in.”

Pro Bono

Calling all pro bono pros! Here, “you can do as much pro bono as you want!” A rarity at any BigLaw firm: “There’s no limit on how many annual billable hours can be allocated towards pro bono.” Emails are sent out at least bi-weekly to alert juniors to new pro bono matters to take on, making it “really easy to get work.” The system has proven fruitful too: “I know people who’ve done hundreds of pro bono hours that have all counted as billable!” Every attorney should bill at least 20 pro bono hours, and while they’re encouraged to hit 50, this is exceeded by most associates. The best part, according to interviewees, was that “nobody is going to tell you you’re doing too much pro bono! I haven’t gotten any pushback at all on any of the work I’ve done.”

The matters for juniors are “super substantive” and include matters relating to reproductive rights (thanks to a “strong relationship” with Planned Parenthood), veterans’ rights matters, criminal defense, civil rights, immigration and asylum, domestic violence work, and a wrongful incarceration suit that went all the way to the Supreme Court. What’s also unique about O’Melveny is the host of corporate matters available, anything from work for small businesses, the Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance, or combating housing discrimination – take your pick!

Pro bono hours

  • For all (US) attorneys: 78,355
  • Average per (US) attorney: 102


“They hosted a New Years Eve party so we could watch the ball drop!”

“The firm culture is the reason I came to O’Melveny,” one junior divulged, “people are willing to invest in you just because you walked in the door, and that’s a beautiful thing.” This was the consensus amongst our associates who “couldn’t speak highly enough of the culture.” As one Californian source said of their office: “It’s so laid back, right down to the dress code – people wear jeans to the office, you see people walking around in sneakers all the time.” As a technicality, the formal office policy is that associates should be in the office more than they’re not. Juniors agreed that O’Melveny’s attorneys are “really good at building a sense of community,” whether it’s through Young Associate Happy Hours, Fireside Chats, Lunch and Learns, scavenger hunts, community service events such as organizing toy drives or food pantries, or charity events like a hike for cancer.  Although the events tend to be more low-key, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for the bigger stuff! We were green with envy when we heard that "we went to see Drake last year, which was super neat! That was the coolest thing we've done recently," and we don't doubt it - we'll just assume that our ticket must've gotten lost in the mail. Additionally, “our New York office overlooks Times Square,” one interviewee described, “and they hosted a New Years Eve party so we could watch the ball drop!”

Hours & Compensation

Billable hours: 1,900 target

As is the case for a lot of firms with large corporate and litigation practices, there was a marked difference between flows of work for our juniors. Across the board, we were told that the hours target is “realistic and definitely not impossible,” but litigation associates found it “very attainable,” to the point that that they had “never worried about it from the first day.” Luckily, as one corporate associate shared, “the firm has taken note of us having a difficult time filling hours, and they understand.” Still worried you’re not going to hit your target? There are also 50 DEI hours and an unlimited amount of pro bono hours to supplement your progress, so you’ll be able to make that bonus (which is lockstep on top of it all!).

Usually, hours are steady at O’Melveny as long as you “get a handle on your workflow.”“Sure, sometimes you’ll stay up until 3am on a West Coast deal,” a New York associate reflected, “but when I’ve done that, the partners I work with will call and ask why I’m up!” Even better, we were told that O’Melveny’s hybrid working system dates back to “a pre-COVID understanding that sometimes you need to work from home! It’s not really a super rigid policy here.” 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

For many, the general sentiment was that “O’Melveny really cares about diversity, and they make it known by putting money behind it.” Developments in associate recruitment were underlined as a high point for the firm: “The people they’re recruiting aren’t monolithic,” one junior emphasized, “they aren’t all from the top 10 law schools, they’re not exclusive in a certain way, nor do they have a certain pedigree.” On the other hand, a point of improvement was associate retention: “They do an excellent job of getting us through the door, but keeping us here is something that requires more deliberate work.”

“…that’s not because the firm is whispering behind the scenes telling them to say something. It’s because these are real people who want to show up for each other.”

Within the firm are several employee networks such as the African American, Asian American, Latinx, LGBTQIA+, and Women’s groups, all of which do well at “having regular touch points.” Another added: “When something’s in the news that happens to a community, someone in the affinity group will make a statement, and that’s not because the firm is whispering behind the scenes telling them to say something. It’s because these are real people who want to show up for each other.” Typical DEI events like webinars and presentations are common, but recently, “a partner had an idea to have a flower building Lego event for the Women’s Affinity Group – it was really cute!”

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus 

O’Melveny recruited at over 35 schools last year; the firm also attends job fairs and accepts applications through resume collections and direct submissions. O’Melveny recruits from a range of top national schools and more regional schools “that are important to our individual offices.” The number of attorneys interviewing at each school varies, as does the number of students. Two attorneys – of varying seniority, practice areas and experience levels - usually conduct each interview, with the firm striving to include alumni from that law school in the interview process. 

Through a broad range of questions, interviewers are encouraged to ask questions “to allow us to get to know each candidate” and their strengths. This stage also allows students to learn about the firm, including “our distinctive culture, cutting-edge client work, commitment to pro bono, and thoughtful approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion and wellbeing.” Questions – such as, “'tell me about a successful team effort and why the team was effective'” – allow students to demonstrate how they might handle a situation. Beyond academic achievement, O’Melveny is looking for enthusiasm for the firm, extracurricular activities (like journal work and moot court), prior work experience, and “candidates with a diverse set of experiences.” 

Top tips for this stage:                          

“Students stand out for a variety of reasons. One thing they all have in common, however, is a keen interest in O’Melveny — our practices, our culture, our attorneys. We want our future summer associates to be enthusiastic about us and help us understand why they think O’Melveny will be a successful place to begin their legal career.”- O’Melveny hiring source. 


The firm tells us the callback interviews are a “deeper dive into getting to know the candidate.” As such, students generally meet several attorneys during their callback interview. Alongside a variety of practice areas and expertise, O’Melveny often includes members of the local office employment committee, including the hiring partner. Students should be prepared to clearly demonstrate what differentiates them from other candidates. The firm wants to hear from students about their “interest in O’Melveny, why they went to law school, their writing experiences and skills,” occasions when challenges were overcome, or leadership positions assumed, as well as indications of community involvement – whether that be with “student organizations, community services groups, or volunteer organizations.”  

O’Melveny also uses a software tool called pymetrics in order to reduce implicit bias in the hiring process. “By assessing candidates’ social, cognitive and emotional traits,” the firm tells us, “pymetrics provides an objective data point for us to consider along with resumes, grades and interviewer feedback.” 

Top tips for this stage: 

“Our attorneys appreciate candidates who are prepared with questions about the firm, our practices, and our summer program. We are also particularly impressed with excellent writing skills as they are critical to every lawyer’s professional development. Writing is a craft that we continue to hone throughout our careers. We encourage students to seek out opportunities that enable them to improve their writing skills, including joining a journal or participating in moot court.”– O’Melveny hiring source 

Summer program 

During the summer program, summer associates witness “an inside look at what it is like to practice at O’Melveny.” As such, summers work on “major cases and deals,” support ongoing pro bono matters, and “join in social events to get to know our attorneys.” Alongside experiential training highlights – such as Advocacy Institute or Mock Deal Program – summer associates participate in deal closings, client meetings, depositions, and court appearances. The firm also hosts cross-office training programs – such as brief writing and oral advocacy arguments. Summer associates receive work through formal allocation systems, and have formalized midsummer and final reviews to “help our summer associates make the most of their experiences.” 

Beyond “hard work,” opportunities to connect with colleagues are also to be found. A smattering of social events allows for summer associates to “engage with partners and associates through a variety of social activities.” Past highlights include cooking classes and attending sporting events. 

Top tips for this stage: 

“Successful summer associates do great work and make an effort to get to know our attorneys and staff. Our summer class sizes allow summer associates to build a rewarding career and create lasting connections with each other and with the attorneys and staff in each office. Summer associates are able to tackle new challenges while feeling appreciated, included and supported.”O’Melveny hiring source 

And finally... 

The firm expresses pride in the fact that “the vast majority of our summer associates return to the firm as junior associates. Generally, attorneys narrow their preferences for practice groups after two years at the firm and these are based on a variety of factors including the interests of the junior associate and business needs of the firm.” 


O'Melveny & Myers LLP

400 South Hope Street,
Los Angeles,
CA 90071
Website www.omm.com

Main areas of work

 O’Melveny is a multidisciplinary firm with over 800 lawyers in 18 offices worldwide. Our wide-ranging legal services encompass litigation, business deals, risk management, regulatory compliance, and government relations. The firm advises clients on a full range of cutting-edge litigation, corporate, and regulatory matters that arise in various industries, including artificial intelligence, consumer products, energy, entertainment and media, financial services, health care, insurance, life sciences, natural resources, private equity, sports, technology, and transportation. For a complete listing of our client services and locations, visit omm.com. 

Firm profile

 For driven people, success is often its own reward. But what if you could achieve your goal to do the most challenging, transformative legal work—work that excites and ignites you—without having to compromise on a great firm culture? Recognized as a top firm for what we accomplish in the boardroom and courtroom for discerning clients the world over, we also enjoy a culture unlike any other. Ambition can coexist with mutual respect. Our teams go above and beyond to achieve critical and complex feats for our clients, while supporting and valuing one another in the process. That’s the best of both worlds. That’s O’Melveny.


Law schools attending for OCIs in 2024:
Berkeley, Chapman, Chicago, Columbia, Duke, Fordham, Georgetown, George Washington, Harvard, Howard, Loyola, Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, NYU, Penn, Rutgers, Santa Clara, SMU, Stanford, Texas A&M, Tulane, UC Davis, UC Law San Francisco, UCI, UCLA, USC, UVA, Vanderbilt, University of Texas, Washington University, Yale.

Recruitment outside OCIs: We aim to strike a balance between recruiting at national schools and regional schools within our various markets. We also participate in diversity career fairs and initiatives, such as Bay Area Diversity Career Fair and veteran recruiting events. We connect with a variety of law student organizations to host presentations, networking events, and sponsorships. In addition to on-campus recruitment programs, law students may apply directly to our summer associate program after May 15. We also offer our William T. Coleman application for 1L’s and 2L’s. Details for both applications can be found on our careers page at www.omm.com.

Summer associate profile: We look for candidates who are enthusiastic about O’Melveny and want to dedicate themselves to our values. We consider a variety of criteria when making hiring decisions. We consider candidates who we believe will be well suited based on interests, personality, and credentials. We also look for high academic achievement, extracurricular activities like journal work and moot court, prior professional work experience, and candidates with a diverse set of experiences.

Summer program components: Our summer program offers an inside look at what it is like to practice at O’Melveny. Our summer associates work on major cases and deals, support ongoing pro bono matters, participate in targeted training and development programs, and attend social events to get to know our attorneys. Experiential training includes our Advocacy Institute, Mock Deal Program, and opportunities to accompany O’Melveny lawyers to deal closings, client meetings, depositions, and court appearances. In addition to hard work, we ensure our summer associates have the opportunity to engage with partners and associates through a variety of social activities such as sporting events, cooking and art classes, trivia nights and more. Our work coordination system ensures our summers are exposed to a variety of practice areas, attorneys, and types of work. Partner and associate mentors, ongoing feedback, and a midsummer and final review help our summer associates make the most of their experiences.

Social media

Recruitment website: www.omm.com/careers
X: https://twitter.com/omelvenymyers
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OMelvenyandMyersLLP/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omelvenymyers/?hl=en
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/o'melveny-&-myers-llp/

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Antitrust (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 5)
    • Capital Markets: Debt & Equity (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 5)
    • Insurance: Insurer (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Litigation (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
    • Media & Entertainment: Litigation (Band 1)
    • Media & Entertainment: Transactional (Band 3)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
    • Tax (Band 2)
    • Antitrust (Band 5)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 5)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 5)
    • Environment: Mainly Transactional (Band 3)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Insurer (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 4)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Energy: State Regulatory & Litigation (Electricity) (Band 1)
    • Antitrust: Cartel (Band 2)
    • Appellate Law (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 5)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • ERISA Litigation (Band 1)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Insurer (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 2)
    • International Trade: CFIUS Experts (Band 4)
    • International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions: The Elite (Band 4)
    • International Trade: Intellectual Property (Section 337) (Band 5)
    • Product Liability & Mass Torts: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Projects: PPP (Band 2)
    • Projects: Renewables & Alternative Energy (Band 5)
    • Securities: Litigation (Band 5)
    • Sports Law (Band 3)
    • State Attorneys General (Band 3)