As a group, the biggest firms in Los Angeles County got bigger this year. There are now 5,413 attorneys in the L.A. offices of the 50 largest firms, 93 more than last year. O'Melveny & Myers is again atop the list, with 386 attorneys in the county.

The biggest change came with the closure last month of last year's No. 39, Brobeck Phleger & Harrison LLP. The San Francisco-based firm closed its doors Feb. 14 after merger talks failed with No. 26 Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.

No. 4 Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP moved up 11 spots, adding 61 attorneys, including 18 who moved from No. 32 Sedgwick Detert Moran & Arnold LLP.

Jones Day, No. 13, dropped Reavis & Pogue from its name in January and added 35 attorneys and six partners for the year. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP reported the biggest decline, shedding 32 attorneys and dropping 10 spots to No. 19. The firm, which merged with Troop Steuber Pasich Redick & Tobey LLP in 2000, saw an exit of many former Troop attorneys in its employment practice as well as its business and technology group.

Nicole Taylor


O'Melveny & Myers LLP

With 386 attorneys in its L.A. offices, O'Melveny & Myers LLP is again the largest law firm in the county. Founded in 1885 as Graves & O'Melveny, the firm now has 900 attorneys in 14 offices in Europe, Asia and the United States.

Firmwide, O'Melveny saw plenty of expansion in 2002, including the opening of its Beijing office and the acquisition of 88-member boutique firm O'Sullivan LLP in New York. O'Melveny also added 21 people from now defunct Brobeck Phleger & Harrison LLP in its Silicon Valley office.

Locally, O'Melveny saw continued growth in all its Southern California offices, according to Seth Aronson, managing partner in the L.A. office.

"We've been busy across the board, especially in litigation, intellectual property, business finance and restructuring," said Aronson. "We've been very active in recent changes to corporate governance, with our lawyers being called upon for advice on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act."

The L.A.-based firm is handling securities litigation for Homestore Inc. and Walt Disney Co.

For 2003, Aronson predicts continued growth in securities litigation, corporate governance, intellectual property and technology practices.

Nicole Taylor

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.