O’Melveny Worldwide

Matt Cowan is a board-level advisor to clients facing fast-moving and complex challenges, including sensitive internal investigations, inquiries by federal and state enforcement authorities, and related criminal and civil litigation. His clients span the energy, technology, higher education, sports, non-profit, and financial services industries.

Board members and officers for Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, leading universities, and nonprofit organizations rely on Matt to investigate misconduct allegations, consider and assist with voluntary disclosures to federal and local enforcement agencies, and implement remediation strategies and preventative measures. Clients leverage Matt’s demonstrated track record handling these sensitive and specialized matters to advise on overall strategy, including navigating parallel government inquiries or enforcement actions, outside auditor diligence, and media strategy.

Matt also provides clients with strategic, regulatory, and governance advice and has considerable experience in complex e-discovery, environmental, and compliance matters. He represents UCLA, Stanford, and other universities in connection with high-profile athletic conference realignment matters.

Matt devotes significant time to the firm’s pro bono efforts. His recent pro bono work includes leading impact litigation on behalf of a certified class of plaintiffs seeking reform to Nevada’s system of indigent defense. Matt also serves on the Board of Directors of Inner City Law Center, a nonprofit poverty-law firm fighting to end homelessness on behalf of the most vulnerable residents of Los Angeles.

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Get to Know Matt

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love learning from my O’Melveny colleagues as we help clients navigate complex and sensitive issues.  Our work demands continual growth and development, which keeps things interesting.

What, outside of your work, are you most passionate about?

Sharing laughs with family and friends.  

Advisory and Compliance Experience

  • Represent UCLA, Stanford, and other universities in connection with high-profile athletic conference realignment matters.
  • Counseling a Fortune 500 energy company in connection with US operational and environmental matters.
  • Counseling an electric vehicle and technology company on a wide range of issues in connection with its US operations, including regulatory matters before multiple federal, state, and local agencies.

Board-Led and Internal Investigations

  • Represented a US-based global semiconductor company in an internal FCPA investigation arising from a whistleblower complaint alleging improper payments to foreign government officials in Asia to influence government bid awards.
  • Represented the Audit Committee of Mattel, Inc. in the investigation of whistleblower allegations concerning accounting, financial reporting and auditor independence issues.
  • Represented the Special Committee of the Board of Directors for a public transportation authority in the investigation of whistleblower allegations of widespread fraudulent conduct by senior management.
  • Represented the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers in connection with a high-profile workplace misconduct investigation.
  • Represented a private University in connection with a high-profile investigation into its basketball program.
  • Represented the Regents of the University of California and a Special Committee appointed by the Chancellor of UCLA to review and report on allegations of misconduct in the clinical health setting.
  • Represented the Board of Directors of a DC-based think tank, in connection with allegations of a hostile work environment under its Executive Director.
  • Conducted an internal investigation on behalf of a national managed-care organization related to compliance with Medicare Advantage regulations and the federal anti-kickback statute.
  • Represented the Board of Trustees of the University of Southern California in multiple high profile investigations and corporate governance issues.
  • Represented the Board of CenturyLink (now Lumen) in conducting a large-scale internal investigation of consumer sales and billing practices following whistleblower suit and regulatory, consumer, and shareholder litigation.
  • Conducted internal investigations on behalf of a national managed-care organization in response to inquiries from federal and state enforcement authorities.
  • Conducted an internal investigation on behalf of a Fortune 500 company's Audit Committee to assess the compliance of its China-based subsidiary with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Government Investigations

  • Defending one of the world's largest automakers in connection with a criminal grand jury investigation.
  • Obtained a declination for an investment adviser in an SEC Pay-to-Play Rule investigation.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 energy company in connection with federal and state agency investigations into an industrial incident and environmental release.
  • Represented multiple financial services clients in connection with investigations by the SEC.
  • Obtained a declination of federal prosecution for a public company in a DOJ grand jury investigation of alleged misleading advertising claims.
  • Obtained a declination of federal prosecution for a former medical device sales executive under investigation for fraud and device misbranding.


Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • US District Court, Central District of California
  • US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit


  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., cum laude
  • University of California at Los Angeles, B.A., Political Science

Honors & Awards

  • Recommended by The Legal 500 US for State Attorneys General (2024)

Professional Activities


  • “Federal Public Corruption Prosecution After ‘Bridgegate’,” The New York Law Journal with Nicole Argentieri (June 2020)