O'Melveny Donates US$30,000 to Six Nonprofits

November 12, 2010


Julie Fei
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
213.430.7792 (work)                                                                                 
213.440.7792 (cell)                                                                                          

Andrea Rodeschini
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
212.326.2251 (work)
914.844.7664 (cell)

NEWPORT BEACH, CA November 12, 2010The pro bono work of O’Melveny & Myers LLP has yielded new benefits for Orange County residents. On the heels of the historic settlement that O’Melveny and others secured in June for aggrieved food stamp applicants from Orange County, the Firm is donating its entire attorneys’ fee award after costs—US$300,000—to six nonprofits.


The money will be split between Western Center on Law and Poverty, Orange County Public Law Center, Mercy House-Orange County, Share Our Selves-Costa Mesa, Friendship Shelter-Laguna Beach, and Community Action Partnership Orange County.


“We selected these recipients because their missions reinforce our original objective in the lawsuit ─ to help low-income residents in the county secure food and shelter and the other assistance that they need during the prolonged recession,” said Phillip Kaplan, partner and pro bono chair of O’Melveny’s Newport Beach office. “The Western Center for Law and Poverty and the Public Law Center are two leading nonprofits that serve the legal needs of that population.  Mercy House, Share Our Selves, the Friendship Shelter, and the Community Action Partnership Orange County are all on the front line of distributing food and shelter to needy Orange County residents.”


The case, Blackstar v. Orange County, resulted in US$750,000 in attorney fees and costs being awarded to O’Melveny, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Public Law Center, and Rothner Segall & Greenstone.


That combination of legal teams represented a class of food stamp applicants and recipients whose benefits had been unlawfully denied or delayed due to cutbacks at the County’s Social Services Agency (SSA). The settlement between the plaintiffs and Orange County includes a three-year Consent Decree establishing guidelines and deadlines with which the SSA must comply.


The Blackstar case presented some very challenging issues in light of the tough economy.


“We recognized that the county was faced with its own budget pressures, but we believed strongly that in this severe recession, the county needed to do a better job in getting benefits to those in need in a more timely way,” said Kaplan. “This outcome is a win-win for all the parties involved because it ensures that people who are entitled to benefits get them on time.”


O’Melveny’s involvement in this case is part of the Firm’s long-standing commitment to pro bono work. In 2009 alone, O’Melveny contributed more than 3,200 hours of pro bono legal assistance to Public Law Center, with the majority of its services representing the plaintiffs in the Blackstar suit. For its work, the Firm was named “Law Firm of the Year” by the nonprofit legal group.


About O’Melveny & Myers LLP

With approximately 900 lawyers in 14 offices worldwide, O’Melveny & Myers LLP helps industry leaders across a broad array of sectors manage the complex challenges of succeeding in the global economy. We are a values-driven law firm, guided by the principles of excellence, leadership, and citizenship. Our commitment to these values is reflected in our dedication to improving access to justice through pro bono work and championing initiatives that increase the diversity of the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.omm.com