Law360 Selects Four Top Practice Groups Of The Year from O’Melveny

January 30, 2013

O'Melveny & Myers LLP's Appellate Practice, Insurance Group, Media & Entertainment Group, and Product Liability Group were recently selected as Law360’s 2012 Practice Groups of the Year.


In a profile of the Appellate Practice published on January 14, 2013, the legal publication recognized the group’s prolific year of scoring numerous victories for clients, including three in the US Supreme Court within the first two months of 2012: US v. Jones, CompuCredit v. Greenwood, and Kurns v. Railroad Friction Products Corp. Partner and Chair of the Firm’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Jonathan Hacker told Law360 the “tight-knit group’s” formula for success lies in their ability to “’look behind immediately controlling cases and probe back to foundational principles’ for a fresh approach to appellate conundrums.” The article also details the appellate group’s successful representation of Ford Motor Co. in defeating an Ohio jury’s US$2 billion verdict (the largest in the state’s history) and securing a new trial brought by Ford-authorized dealers alleging Ford violated their standard franchise agreement, as well as the seemingly “uphill battle” the Firm faced in In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation. Of the latter, counsel Anton Metlitsky, who worked on the case, told Law360 how the team overcame all odds. “We figured out that the term [air carriers] was used inconsistently and the statutory definition didn’t really apply,” said Metlitsky. “Once we did that, we won, turning a clear loser into an obvious winner.”


It was O'Melveny’s “ability to win insurers a say in a reorganization plan in one bankruptcy and to outsmart a state intent on saddling its client with almost US$70 million in workers' compensation costs in another” that earned its designation as Law360’s Insurance Practice Group of the Year. The January 28, 2013, profile details the landmark victory O’Melveny secured as lead counsel for Century Indemnity Co. and other insurers before the Ninth Circuit, which resulted in providing insurers with a stronger chance to challenge plans made without their knowledge. In November 2011, O’Melveny scored another high-profile victory as lead counsel for Ace American Insurance Co. in a Second Circuit appeal arising out of the Delphi Corporation’s 2005 bankruptcy. Particularly with this case, the O’Melveny’s team’s success can be attributed to its geographic diversity. “Where other firms' insurance teams center themselves in one location,” partner Tancred Schiavoni said in the article, “O'Melveny spreads its talent out.” And it’s not only its geographic breadth that gives O’Melveny an edge, partner and Chair of the Firm’s Class Actions, Mass Torts, and Insurance Litigation Practice Richard Goetz points out, it’s the combination of class actions, mass torts, and insurance into one practice and — "understanding the underlying dispute because you've litigated it makes for a much more effective lawyer."


In a January 29, 2013, profile of the Media & Entertainment group, Law360 recognized the group’s pivotal successes last year for clients Warner Bros. Entertainment, Call of Duty producers Jason West and Vince Zampella, and Lions Gate Entertainment, among others. “It's been a year where we have been hitting on all cylinders,” partner and Chair of O'Melveny's Entertainment, Sports and Media practice Joe Calabrese, said in the article. “The overall practice has gotten broader and more entrenched with the town.” In what could have been one of the most significant trials in the video game industry’s history, O'Melveny lawyers engineered a favorable settlement on behalf of “Call of Duty” producers Jason West and Vince Zampella that ended litigation over the duo's ouster from Activision. Partner and Chair of the Entertainment and Media Litigation Practice Bobby Schwartz, who worked on the case, told Law360, “We laid all types of traps during the investigation that helped us during the litigation. It was clear that Activision screwed these guys over and never intended to pay them what they deserved.” Partner and Chair of O’Melveny’s Business Trial & Litigation Practice Daniel Petrocelli credits O’Melveny’s success to the Firm’s team-based approach. “We had an array of important entertainment cases last year that went to judgment in our clients' favor,” said Petrocelli. “It was really quite an extraordinary year for us which I attribute to a deep bench of very talented lawyers.”


O’Melveny earned a spot among Law360’s Product Liability Practice Groups of the Year most notably for its lawyers convincing the US Supreme Court to expand federal preemption in asbestos exposure cases and for securing major appellate victories for pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co. In the Firm’s profile, published January 14, 2013, Law360 reports it’s “the Firm's ability to develop creative strategies and establish a long-term vision that allows them to win the trust of major clients when stakes are the highest.” Practice Chair Goetz remarked that clients have noticed, too. “We're humbled and honored that they pick us to do these matters, and it's given us an opportunity to excel. Ultimately, clients recognize that we are most interested in preserving their interest rather than ours,” said Goetz in the story. In the article, partner Stephen Brody pointed to one triumph the Firm scored for Merck that truly demonstrated how “O’Melveny’s patience and long-term vision leads to success.” Brody explained, “You don't want to win one product liability case and in the process make that law that is going to lose the next 10. So in many cases, it’s not just winning that’s important, it also matters how you win. It's that creative strategic thinking and the ability to execute on our strategy that allows us to achieve broader client goals.”