O’Melveny Worldwide

Wayne Jacobsen’s practice is exclusively in the employee benefits and executive compensation field, including pension and profit sharing plans, employee stock ownership plans, deferred compensation plans, stock option plans, welfare plans, employment agreements, severance arrangements and change of control arrangements. Wayne finds studying the minute details of tax law and contracts fascinating and translates that dedication into meticulous service for his clients.

Wayne has represented clients including: American Suzuki Motor Corporation; Automobile Club of Southern California; Beckman Coulter Inc.; Broadcom Corporation; CH2M HILL Corporation, DIRECTV; Experian Information Solutions; Hilton Hotels Corporation; Kia Motors America; Korn Ferry International; Leidos, Inc.; Mercury Insurance; Miramax Films; Phase II Systems; Sunkist Growers, Inc.; SAIC, Inc.; SanDisk Corporation; Raytheon Corporation; Toyota Motor Sales; Trust Company of the West; and United Airlines.

  • Negotiated with the Internal Revenue Service to reduce by 80% a monetary sanction the IRS proposed in connection with an audit of an employer’s 401(k) plan
  • Represented United Airlines in creating and operating the largest employee stock ownership plan in the United States 
  • Represented SAIC, Inc. in its transition from employee ownership by means of that company’s initial public offering 
  • Represented fiduciaries of an ESOP in a shareholder dispute concerning corporate control 
  • Represented Hughes Electronics in California’s most significant case concerning qualified domestic relations orders – In re Marriage of Oddino
  • Assisted a number of employers in ensuring that benefit plan coverage was not inadvertently extended to contingent workers, such as independent contractors and “leased” employees 
  • Represented Phase II Systems with respect to the retirement and exit incentive programs for numerous public agencies 
  • Provides ongoing advice concerning pension, deferred compensation, 401(k), stock options, employee stock purchase plans, health plans, and other benefit programs for numerous publicly and privately held companies


Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • US District Court, Central District of California
  • US Tax Court
  • US Supreme Court


  • University of Southern California, J.D., 1982: Order of the Coif; Southern California Law Review, 1980-1982
  • University of California, Los Angeles, A.B., 1979: magna cum laude

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law in Newport Beach, CA (2022-2024); Wayne has been listed in Best Lawyers® since 2003
  • Recognized by The Legal 500 US for Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation and Retirement Plans: Transactions (2020)
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2011-2018)
  • Named a “Super Lawyer” in a survey conducted by Law & Politics Media Inc. and published in Los Angeles magazine (2004, 2006-2015)

Professional Activities


  • American Bar Association, Taxation Section
  • Orange County Bar Association, Taxation Section 


  • 2017 NFP HR & Benefits Seminar, ERISA and Benefit Plans: Navigating an Era of Uncertainty
  • ERISA Litigation Conference, Western Pension and Benefits Conference
  • National Institute of Pension Administrators
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Tax Section, Employee Benefits Committee
  • Prentice Hall Law and Business Employee Benefits Compliance Conference