O’Melveny Worldwide

O’Melveny Lauded at The American Lawyer Industry Awards

December 6, 2021


NEW YORK—December 6, 2021—O’Melveny received two prestigious honors at the 2021 American Lawyer Industry Awards: The firm was named Product Liability Litigation Department of the Year, and partner Leah Godesky was named a Young Lawyer of the Year.

In a ceremony at New York’s Marriott Marquis hotel, The American Lawyer recognized the lawyers and leaders who left their mark on the legal profession—and society—over the last year, one of the most tumultuous in the country’s history.

“We are honored to be recognized once again by The American Lawyer,” said O’Melveny Chair Bradley J. Butwin. “It is gratifying that our outstanding Product Liability Practice has been selected as the best in the industry. And we are also delighted that Leah has been singled out for the acclaim she so richly deserves.”

Butwin added, “The recognition is most appreciated, but of course our greatest satisfaction comes from the results we secure for our clients year after year.”

The American Lawyer hailed the record of the firm’s Product Liability & Mass Torts Practice in recent, high-profile wins. “With the world watching, O’Melveny’s products liability litigators get clients the results they need,” the publication wrote.

O’Melveny represents Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals as lead litigation counsel in over 3,000 opioid-related cases coast to coast—cases which, The American Lawyer said, “threatened to upend the pharmaceutical industry.” In detailing a landmark 2019 Oklahoma case—the amended ruling called for J&J to pay less than 3% of the $17.5 billion the state had sought, and last month the judgment was tossed out entirely—The American Lawyer wrote that “O’Melveny guided its client every step of the way, including on appeal…. In many ways, the case is representative of the firm’s products liability practice.” The publication added, O’Melveny lawyers “try cases that others might rather avoid.”

O'Melveny also won a key trial victory for Johnson & Johnson in Orange County, California, where some of the state’s largest municipalities were seeking US$50 billion in an attempt to expand public-nuisance laws to reach alleged opioid-related harms.

The American Lawyer also lauded O’Melveny’s comprehensive approach to cases, one that extends beyond the courthouse doors: “Much of the practice’s work balances the court of law with the court of public opinion, addressing products that have touched thousands or millions of lives. With that in mind, O’Melveny’s litigators recognize that part of the assignment when they take on a case is to get out in front and communicate their client’s story.”

In addition, O’Melveny has represented Johnson & Johnson in attorney general investigations over its pelvic mesh medical devices, negotiating a first-of-its-kind settlement with 41 states and, in parallel product-liability litigation, winning appellate rulings that helped reshape product-liability law.

“We’re proud of the work we do for our clients and of the trust they place in us,” said Richard Goetz, Co-Chair of O’Melveny’s Litigation Department. “We share this honor with them.”

The American Lawyer also selected Leah Godesky, a partner in the Litigation Department, as one of six Young Lawyers of the Year. The publication honors these attorneys for making “an impact on their organization, the profession, clients or beyond through their work, service to the law firm, service to the industry or service to the community.”

One of the nation’s premiere trial lawyers, Godesky has built a high-profile practice, representing an array of clients in headline-making litigation, including singer/songwriter Kesha, Twentieth Century Fox, and insurance giant Chubb. A committed champion of crucial social causes, Godesky is also a tireless advocate for pro bono clients. Throughout 2020, Godesky won numerous reproductive rights cases while working with the ACLU to challenge the constitutionality of state abortion statutes in Kentucky and Arkansas, helping to ensure women’s access to safe healthcare. These hard-fought victories garnered international headlines and have far-reaching implications for women nationwide, but they most immediately protect the rights of vulnerable women in these states.

“We’re very pleased that the outstanding lawyers at O’Melveny share these honors, and especially proud that our own Leah Godesky was acclaimed for her outstanding work,” said Litigation Department Co-Chair Apalla Chopra. “Leah exemplifies O’Melveny’s tireless work ethic and distinctive firm culture, key ingredients that make our firm so effective—and so special.”

These latest honors come just four months after The American Lawyer ranked O’Melveny #1 on its A-List, which assesses law firms using a holistic performance score covering associate satisfaction, revenue per lawyer, pro bono engagement, overall racial diversity, and gender diversity among the partnership.

About O’Melveny

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Christopher Rieck
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
+1 212 326 2218

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