The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund announced last week that the law firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP has become a national sponsor of the organization, marking a first of its kind union for the Los Angeles-based civil rights group.

As part of the sponsorship, attorneys at both O'Melveny & Myers and Maldef will maintain a "systematic relationship," allowing for a more seamless integration of firm attorneys in cases and emergency orders sought by Maldef, said John Trasvi & #324;a, president and general counsel of the organization.

Trasvi & #324;a added, "This fits into our goal to increase our litigation capacity and continue to be at the cutting edge of important cases for the Latino community."

Additionally, O'Melveny & Myers will participate in Maldef's mentor program and serve as a chair of the organization's annual dinner that will take place next month in Century City.

"The firm played an important part in our recent Supreme Court victory and so it was logical to turn to O'Melveny & Myers to kick off this program," Trasvi & #324;a said.

Last year, O'Melveny lawyers assisted Maldef lawyers challenging a Texas congressional redistricting plan for discriminating against Latinos. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of Maldef, striking down the plan.

"We have a strong relationship with the organization but wanted to strengthen that relationship," said O'Melveny & Myers partner Michael Camu & #324;ez. "This is really a convergence of our diversity and pro bono commitment as a firm. We encourage our lawyers to get out their in the real world and work with approved partners like Maldef."

While announced in Los Angeles, the program will have a national focus and involve Maldef's regional offices and O'Melveny & Myers offices in other cities.

Maldef, which was founded in 1968, advocates on behalf of the nation's Latino community primarily through educational outreach, lobbying and litigation.

The Name Game

What's in a name? When it comes to law firms, this question has a simple answer: a lot. Smaller firms have been known to break up over naming issues, for example when one partner who has grown in prestige seeks to have that increased stature reflected in the firm's title and is opposed by other partners at the firm.

And some firms essentially avoid this debate all together by liberally adding last names to their title. The title of one prominent Beverly Hills entertainment firm is 10 names long.


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