We believe that we must foster the success of underserved populations, both long before law school, and during law school.
We invest nearly half a million dollars annually in scholarship programs for elementary and high school students from underserved communities in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seoul.
We also offer The Coleman Fellowship, a program that recognizes first-year and second-year law students with a demonstrated commitment to public service, in alignment with William T. Coleman Jr.’s legacy, with a strong commitment to civil rights and a track record of DE&I impact, whom we believe will support and contribute to the firm’s DE&I goals. Traditionally, O’Melveny offered first-year students US$5,000 in stipends awarded for their 1L summers. Expanding upon that program, now second-year students receive up to US$50,000 in stipends payable in tranches as they continue their employment with the firm. 1L Coleman Fellows can also participate in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) 1L Scholars Program, and all Coleman Fellows have the opportunity to engage in DE&I and additional programming with the firm. Since the program’s inception in 2017, we have named 37 Coleman Fellows, and are adding four 1L Coleman Fellows in 2023 that represent a variety of offices, schools, geographies, and experiences.
In 2019, O’Melveny became the first US law firm to implement pymetrics, a cutting-edge assessment tool, into our recruiting process. Pymetrics evaluates candidates based on their potential, not their pedigree.
Pymetrics uses a series of objective, behavior-based electronic “games” that measure candidates’ cognitive and emotional traits. Processed by machine learning and audited by artificial intelligence to remove any bias from models, pymetrics offers an objective data point that O’Melveny can consider along with résumés, grades, and interviews.
This additional data point offers new information about candidates’ potential for success at O’Melveny while helping override the implicit biases that naturally seep into traditional recruiting methods.
O’Melveny offers diversity-focused leadership academies to its women, racial/ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ+ attorneys.
Combining intensive skill development and relationship building, the academies offer practical tools and approaches to manage unique challenges, progress careers, and help the firm enhance its inclusive culture.
Our most recent Women’s Leadership Academy supported 80 women partners, counsel, and clients in engaging in the theme of Breaking the Rules. Participants experienced business development advice through storytelling, strategies to recharge through energy management and community building, and discussed pro bono engagement and relationship-cultivation opportunities among our women and firm clients. Dr. Arin Reeves, founder of Nextions diversity consultancy, led the bulk of the programming and we were honored to learn from women trailblazers Julie Uhrman, Co-Founder & President of Angel City Football Club, and Abby Greensfelder, Founder & CEO of Every Woman Studios and Co-Producer of the HBO Documentary “LFG”, who shared how they have successfully broken the rules.
Our most recent DE&I Leadership Academy included 140 O’Melveny racial/ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ attorneys exploring the theme of OMMPower. Participants experienced a series of workshops facilitated by Dr. Reeves, supporting our attorneys in confronting bias, taking care of themselves, boosting confidence, and working in Big Law. Additionally, our lawyers learned from clients from underrepresented backgrounds from Better.com, Brex, Citi, Disney, and UHC, and engaged in roundtables sharing their experiences and suggestions for the ways the firm can continue to support them and DE&I at the firm.
DE&I Leadership Mentoring Program
DE&I Leadership Mentoring Program
To address requests from our underrepresented lawyers from the DE&I Leadership Academy and address the disproportionate attrition impacting racial/ethnic minorities in the legal industry at mid-level, and in alignment with commitments to Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, our Chair launched the DE&I Leadership Mentoring Program in 2022.
The 26 partners of our three highest leadership committees at the firm – our Policy Committee, Management Team and Executive Team – are connecting with our mid-level racial/ethnic minority, LGBTQ+ and first-generation associates in a robust mentoring program. Launched in October 2022, we began by offering information about conducting an effective mentoring relationship and offering advice on connecting and conversational topics. To date, the DE&I team has conducted check-ins with mentees, and our Management Team checked in with our partner mentors. We also had an in-person event, with our mid-level lawyer participants gathering at our Mid-Level Leadership Academy in a session led by DE&I Committee member Scott Sugino. The program continues with periodic information sharing and check-ins. We hope that the themes learned from our participants will help inform our DE&I strategy and initiatives going forward.
O'Melveny also focuses on a carefully cultivated pipeline of underrepresented lawyers who grow to become our leaders.
Eight of the 11 members of our 2023 partner class are women, racial/ethnic minorities or LGBTQ+, marking the eighth consecutive year that at least 50% of our incoming partner class come from underrepresented backgrounds. More than 80% of these attorneys spent all or the vast majority of their careers at O’Melveny.
O’Melveny participated in the Mansfield Rule from 2017 (its inception) to 2022, which requires that at least 30% of the candidates for law-firm leadership positions, equity partnership, and lateral hires (mid-level and up) be women, racial/ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+, or disabled. Every year, O’Melveny achieved Mansfield certification and the “Certified Plus” designation, which indicates that a firm has reached at least 30% women, minority, LGBTQ+ or disabled representation in 70% of the Mansfield categories. Given that we have exceeded the requirements annually, we have transitioned in 2023 from formal participation to informal participation, allocating additional capital to our employee networks and areas where we could achieve increased diversification at the leadership level.