2016 year in review

A Message from Brad Butwin

The new year always prompts self-reflection, offering us an opportunity to look back at the year before to ask: Did we accomplish our clients’ goals? Did we uphold our firm values? Did we give back to our communities? While there is always room to do more, the 2016 year in review makes us pretty confident that we’re on the right track, and that we’re positioning our clients to be even more successful in 2017 by identifying key trends that could affect their businesses.

Banking and Financial Services

In 2016, O’Melveny provided “expert representation of a strong roster of financial institutions,” according to Chambers USA, which quotes sources referring to our lawyers as “incredibly professional, sophisticated and knowledgeable.”  Our advice ranged from risk management, regulatory compliance, and government relations to business deals and litigation.

See the Appellate section for an additional victory on behalf of Fidelity Investments.

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Colleges and Universities

O’Melveny represented colleges and universities in some of the sector’s highest profile matters of 2016, from successfully defending a class action brought against the NCAA over so-called “paper courses” for student athletes to investigations and litigation triggered by complaints of sexual misconduct on college campuses.  The firm also served as underwriters’ counsel on more than US$800 million in bond offerings for the Regents of the University of California; the bond proceeds will be used to finance or refinance projects on campuses and at medical centers.

See the Trial section for details of our defense of then President-elect Donald Trump and the Trump University real estate program.

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Consumer and Retail Products

Over the past year, O’Melveny helped consumer and retail clients overcome obstacles and achieve their goals on matters as diverse as brand protection, product liability, restructuring, complex financings, and acquisitions.  Our successes included advising on the largest leveraged buyout announced in 2016 and securing victory in a long-running trademark dispute.

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Emerging Technologies

In 2016, O’Melveny leveraged its strong presence in Silicon Valley and expansive reach in Asia and Europe to advise emerging tech clients on strategically important and high-profile transactions from development and distribution agreements to seed funding and early stage investments through to public offerings and sales.  O’Melveny is nationally ranked in Venture Capital Law by US News & World Report / Best Lawyers’ “Best Law Firms” survey.

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Energy, Natural Resources, and Utilities

O’Melveny demonstrated strength in the energy, natural resources, and utilities sectors over the past year.  We represented both private and public industry participants, including lenders, advisors, developers, owners, investors, underwriters, and governmental entities.  Chambers USA referred to our “strong bench of capable project finance and development attorneys with a wide range of skills.”  Chambers also noted the “tremendous job” of our team in advising on the environmental aspects of transactions, while US Legal 500 praised our “first-rate” tax-equity counseling on renewable/alternative energy projects.

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Entertainment, Sports, and Media

Law360 named O’Melveny’s entertainment, sports, and media practice a Practice Group of the Year in recognition of our success handling “some of the hottest” media deals and “high-profile” cases.  This marks the fourth year O’Melveny has won the award.  Among 2016’s highlights, we achieved a landmark victory for Sirius XM Radio in a copyright dispute affecting the radio and music industries. And on the dealmaking side, we helped clients develop, finance, distribute, and license films and television programs both in and outside of Asia.

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Health Care

In recommending O’Melveny’s health care practice, US Legal 500 referred to our “high level” service that is “thorough,” “timely,” “responsive,” and “solution-oriented.”   In 2016, our team handled regulatory matters, government investigations, complex litigation, and transactional work for key industry players, including managed care organizations, hospitals, commercial and investment bankers, and investment/buyout funds.

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Hospitality and Leisure

A host of hospitality industry clients turned to O’Melveny to address their legal and business concerns in 2016, earning us a spot among Law360’s Practice Groups of the Year.  We advised investors, lenders, developers, owners, and operators on properties ranging from budget, boutique, and upscale hotels to travel agencies, time share resorts, and cruise lines.

See the Trial section for details of our defense of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC in a wage-and-hour putative class action.

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Industrials and Manufacturing

Over the past year, O’Melveny provided comprehensive counseling to industrial and manufacturing clients around the globe.  We achieved a litigation victory for ESSA, a salt-exporting subsidiary of the Mexican government, in a breach of contract suit in US federal court; represented European industrial gearbox manufacturer Santasalo in its merger with David Brown; and advised a major European chemical company on a worldwide risk assessment in the areas of export controls, anti-boycott, economic sanctions, anti-corruption, and antitrust.

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Investment Funds and Private Equity

O’Melveny advised on a diverse range of fund-related matters in 2016 with a practice that spans the US, Asia, and Europe.  Matters ranged from fund formation and capital raising to portfolio transactions, fund restructurings, and secondaries transactions.  We also assisted institutional investors with investments into funds and co-investments.  In recommending our fund practice, US Legal 500 noted “the overall level of service is great.”

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Life Sciences

Over the past year, O’Melveny’s versatile group of life science practitioners helped clients develop legal strategies that took the full measure of their global risks and opportunities into account.  US Legal 500 highlighted our capabilities “in big-ticket litigation and in handling cutting-edge deals and licensing partnerships.”

See the Trial section for details about our role as AstraZeneca’s lead counsel in worldwide patent litigation involving breast cancer medicine Faslodex. 

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Telecommunications and Technology

O’Melveny combined deep industry knowledge with sophisticated legal skills to serve the telecoms and tech industries in 2016.  Among our successes, we defended Top Victory Electronics (Taiwan) Co. Ltd. in a patent infringement case involving six patents related to digital television technology and advised Microsemi Corp. on its successful US$2.5 billion “deal jump” to acquire PMC-Sierra.  

See the Trial and Appellate sections for additional victories on behalf of Google, Inc. and Mentor Graphics Corp.

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Transportation

Clients rank O’Melveny a “leading core firm” in transportation (among the top 5% of law firms in the industry), according to a 2016 BTI Consulting Group, Inc. report.  Recent highlights include serving as M&A, antitrust, and labor counsel to Alaska Airlines in its US$4 billion acquisition of Virgin America and securing dismissal for Ford Motor Co. of a product liability class action targeting the keyless fob systems in cars.

See the Trial and Appellate sections for additional victories on behalf of US Airways (now part of American Airlines), American Airlines, and Ford Motor Co.

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Trial

In 2016, O’Melveny reaffirmed its reputation as a litigation powerhouse.  Our experience included jury and bench trials in state and federal courts across the US on matters ranging from the constitutionality of regulatory takings to claims involving fraud, patent infringement, antitrust, and wage-and-hour issues.  Our clients included everyone from then President-elect Donald Trump to leading players in the tech, airline, hotel, and pharmaceutical industries.  As noted in The American Lawyer’s latest “Litigation Department of the Year” contest: “O’Melveny wins big tough cases for all comers.”

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Appellate

In 2016, O’Melveny handled an eclectic mix of appeals across the United States and internationally.  US Legal 500 refers to our “premier” appellate practice, which earned a top-tier ranking in US News & World Report/Best Lawyers’ 2016 survey.

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Outreach that Makes a Difference

Giving back to the community has always been an essential part of the O’Melveny tradition.  In 2016, we demonstrated our commitment to the greater good through volunteer work, charitable giving, scholarship donations, environmental initiatives, and much more.  We championed causes such as women’s health, affirmative action, and immigrant rights as well as helping military veterans transition to civilian life.

Our award-wining pro bono program played a crucial role, and we strongly encouraged all our lawyers to make significant contributions to fight for those most in need.  More than 89% of our lawyers participated in pro bono and devoted almost 61,000 hours to those efforts, an average of more than 100 hours per lawyer and roughly 5.8% of our total billable output.

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Select 2016 Awards and Recognitions

  • For the fifth consecutive year, O’Melveny was selected among the top 10 firms in The American Lawyer’s “A-List,” a ranking of the most “well-rounded” firms in the areas of revenue per lawyer, pro bono commitment, associate satisfaction, and diversity.
  • O’Melveny’s M&A team advised clients in more than 300 transactions with an aggregate deal value of approximately US$150 billion in 2016, placing us among the most active firms in Mergermarket’s year-end league tables in the following categories: US Buyouts by Deal Value (#4), Western US M&A (#4), and US Buyouts and Exits by Deal Value (#9).
  • O’Melveny made an impressive showing in Chambers USA with 62 ranked lawyers and 32 recognitions for practice areas, including a top tier ranking for Antitrust: Cartel (Nationwide).
  • O’Melveny was recognized in Corporate Counsel’s “Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies” feature and is also ranked among the most mentioned firms in the 2016 listing.
  • O’Melveny was named among the top five law firms in AmLaw’s 2016 Litigation Power Rankings.
  • O’Melveny is a leader in client relationships, according to a 2016 BTI Consulting Group, Inc. report.
  • IFLR1000 ranked O’Melveny in the areas of finance and corporate work: “They go well beyond negotiating and structuring deals to add tangible business value.”  
  • IAM Patent 1000 praised O’Melveny’s patent litigators as more than “mere technology dabblers – they have rigorous scientific training and all the trial skills you could want.”                         
  • Law360 selected O’Melveny as a 2016 “Litigation Powerhouse." 
  • O’Melveny received Global M&A Network’s Atlas Award for “Turnaround of the Year” in the Upper Mid Markets (US$250-500 million) category. 
  • O’Melveny was recognized for its work on the “M&A Deal of the Year” at the 2016 ALB Hong Kong Law Awards.
  • O’Melveny picked up four Law360 Practice Group of the Year credits in 2016—for transportation, media and entertainment, project finance, and hospitality—“solidifying O’Melveny’s role in covering its clients from all angles.”
  • Bloomberg’s year-end mid-market tables rank us in the top 10 for Global Private Equity (Up to US$50 million).
  • O’Melveny earned plaudits from China Business Law Journal for its role advising on three “Deals of the Year.”      
  • For the fourth consecutive year, O’Melveny achieved a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workplace equality administered annually by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. 
  • O’Melveny was honored by Euromoney Legal Media Group with three American Women in Business Law awards: best international firm for women in business law, best gender diversity initiative by an international firm, and best international firm for work-life balance.
  • O’Melveny was selected as the “Best Firm to Work For” with the “Best Summer Associate Program,” according to the results of Vault survey on associates’ quality of life in the workplace.
  • O’Melveny was ranked by Law360 among the 100 top US law firms for minorities, based on the firm’s minority representation at the partner and non-partner levels and its total number of minority attorneys.
  • O’Melveny posted its best showing ever in AmLaw’s Midlevel Associates Survey, ranking second.  That’s up from third in 2015, and our sixth straight year of gains.
  • O’Melveny won innovation awards from Financial Times and Legal Week for its OMMLit program, designed to make finding and using the firm’s litigation resources a more intuitive and efficient process.
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View a printer-friendly PDF of our 2016 Year in Review here.

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