William K. Pao is a trusted adviser and creative strategist who specializes in high-exposure commercial, consumer, and securities litigation. As Chair of O’Melveny’s Fintech Group, Will works closely with emerging financial and technology companies, advising cryptocurrency and blockchain pioneers on securities, regulatory, and litigation issues—a legal landscape that continues to evolve with the rise of NFTs and the dawn of the metaverse. Will also understands the business priorities and reputational concerns of traditional banking clients, crafting litigation strategies that have successfully narrowed consumer claims, limited liability, and thwarted putative class actions. And with many of Will’s clients spanning global markets—including US-listed Chinese companies and US companies that operate in China—he provides sophisticated, culturally savvy analysis of cross-border conventions and procedures.
Drawing on his experience as a former in-house secondee at one of the nation’s largest financial institutions, Will recognizes that a successful outcome involves more than skillful motion practice. Understanding a client’s business inside and out—from industry dynamics to customer trends to strategic goals—allows him to counsel and guide his clients through highly complex and sensitive matters.
Will has been recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a “Litigation Star” for his work in securities, financial services, and commercial litigation, and named him to its “40 & Under Hot List.” He has also been named to The American Lawyer’s list of West Trailblazers, which identifies “professionals in the West who have moved the needle in the legal industry." And Will has been identified by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the “Most Influential Minority Attorneys” in Los Angeles.
Before joining O’Melveny, Will served as a law clerk to the Hon. Fortunato Benavides of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Hon. David F. Levi, formerly of the US District Court for the Eastern District of California. He graduated Order of the Coif from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a triple major in Political Science, Economics, and East Asian Languages and Cultures. As a Fulbright Scholar at Fudan University in Shanghai, Will conducted extensive research on Chinese economic reforms.