Our planning for this week’s special report, “L.A. Law,” began with a simple enough question: What’s it like on the inside of L.A.’s oldest and largest law firm, O’Melveny & Myers? From that, we assembled a team of writers, led by senior reporter Benjamin Mark Cole, to explore the various layers of a very large and complex organization.

(Cole figured that had he gone to the firm as a client, the time he spent with various high-level attorneys at O’Melveny would have run several thousand dollars in legal fees.)

Above the lead O’Melveny piece on page 1 is, yes, a paparazzi story related to the Princess Diana tragedy. But don’t worry we didn’t rush over to London last week, like the local TV folks. We stayed at home, focusing on the paparazzi business in Los Angeles, which as our reporter Frank Swertlow discovered, is thriving.

Not your typical business? Probably not. But in some ways, it’s classic L.A. entrepreneurship at work: Long odds, big returns and minimal attention to the morality of it all. Just give it a few years and the folks at Harvard Business School will be doing case studies on these fledgling businesses.

Mark Lacter


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