social responsibility: SCHOLARSHIPS
O’Melveny’s founders emphasized a dedication to serving and improving the community as a central tenet of the firm. That spirit continues today with our global scholarship program, serving schools at the secondary, college, and postgraduate levels. The scholarships reward the scholastic achievements of deserving young people in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Beijing, and Shanghai. We also have sponsored students in Indonesia and South Korea. Additionally, O'Melveny attorneys and staff dedicate their time to mentor these students, providing everything from help on assignments to job connections to a second family. During the past 20 years, the firm has contributed more than US$9 million toward scholarships for hundreds of students who excel academically but need a helping hand to realize their dreams of attending college or becoming practicing lawyers.
The Warren Christopher Scholarship Awards
The Warren Christopher Scholarship Fund was established in 1992 with a gift by O'Melveny's partners to honor Warren Christopher, its former chairman and senior partner, when he was appointed US Secretary of State. With millions of dollars invested in the program by O’Melveny over the past two decades, the fund provides US$20,000 scholarships every year to 10 to 15 outstanding LAUSD high school sophomores. The challenges facing the Christopher Scholars are profound as they attend high schools with exceptionally high drop-out rates and live in circumstances ravaged by drugs, violence, poverty, and illness.
The program goes far beyond just financial assistance for college, which is one reason why so many of the some 200 Christopher Scholars succeed, and is why so many outside donors (both private foundations and individuals) have rallied to provide financial support to the program. The members of the program’s advisory board (composed of O’Melveny lawyers and staff, as well as many outside members) take a personal interest in each scholar, giving support in school, mentorship and career advice, providing job and internship opportunities, and helping scholars find the resources and services they need. Also critical to our success has been the support we receive from our partnering organizations like the California Community Foundation, the Los Angeles Unified School District, Boojum Institute for Experiential Education, South Central Scholars, Cancer for College, Camacho’s Inc., LACMA, and Giacamino Drago family.
Los Angeles Scholarship Program
O'Melveny and O'Melveny Elementary School have enjoyed a long-standing special relationship as part of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Adopt-a-School Program, which pairs businesses with under-resourced schools. O'Melveny established the program in 1991 to encourage students to stay in school, to succeed academically, and to continue their education after high school. The firm also has established the O'Melveny & Myers Scholar Mentor Program where the scholars are paired with an O'Melveny attorney or staff member designated by the firm to offer guidance and support in connection with the students' academic pursuits.
The O'Melveny Scholarship Program has offered more than 200 deserving children from O'Melveny Elementary a helping hand in realizing their dream of attending college. Many have graduated from universities such as MIT, Brown, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, USC, and UCLA.
New York Scholarship Program
In 2003, O'Melveny established its New York Scholarship Awards to encourage high school juniors from across the City who embody the firm’s values of uncompromising excellence, distinctive leadership, and a commitment to community service to continue to excel and gain admission to college. Each year, the firm awards annual grants for college tuition to three students from a public high school in each of New York City’s five boroughs. The 15 O’Melveny Scholars are selected each year through an application process based on grade point average, attendance, enrollment in college preparatory classes, financial need, and community involvement. Each Scholar also is interviewed by the O’Melveny Scholarship Committee, a team of dedicated lawyers and staff committed to helping the Scholars continue to excel. As part of the program, the firm also pairs each O’Melveny Scholar with an O'Melveny lawyer to serve as a mentor. The mentoring aspect of the program is designed to enhance the firm’s relationships with both the O'Melveny Scholars and participating high schools. The mentors assist the Scholars with the college application process, including proofreading their applications and essays, and helping them set academic and professional goals.
San Francisco Scholarship Program
The O'Melveny Scholarship Awards program in San Francisco was established in 2006 for the students of San Francisco's Balboa High School. Located in San Francisco’s Excelsior District, Balboa High School has historically educated a greater proportion of the city’s underserved and ethnically diverse students relative to other high schools in the city. Since 2006, O’Melveny’s San Francisco office has selected three high-achieving tenth-grade students from Balboa High each year; one O’Melveny Scholar and two finalists. The firm’s pledge to the students is that if they stay in school, graduate, and go to college, the O’Melveny Scholar will receive US$20,000 and the finalists will each receive US$1,000 to help pay for school-related expenses. The program also has a mentoring component through which the students receive one-on-one support and encouragement from O’Melveny lawyers.
Shanghai and Beijing Scholarship Program
As a demonstration of O’Melveny’s long-standing commitment to China, the firm identifies the best and brightest law students in Beijing and Shanghai to award scholarships. In Beijing, a total of 12 third-year undergraduates and second-year postgraduate law students (including doctorate candidate students) are selected from the five leading Beijing law schools: China University of Political Science and Law, Peking University Law School, Renmin University of China Law School, Tsinghua University School of Law, and University of International Business and Economics School of Law (in alphabetical order), for the O’Melveny Beijing Legal Scholarship Awards. In Shanghai, a total of 12 third-year undergraduates and second-year postgraduate law students (including doctorate candidate students) from the three leading Shanghai law schools: East China University of Political Science and Law, Fudan University School of Law, and Shanghai University of International Business and Economics School of Law, receive O’Melveny Shanghai Legal Scholarship Awards. In addition, the students make valuable contacts within the scholarship committees, which are composed of distinguished legal professionals, law professors, and representatives from the firm.