"Roast! Roast! Roast!"

Allen & Overy was mocked by O'Melveny & Myers for the mooted merger which failed to go ahead, as shown by photos that have emerged apparently from a partner conference at the US firm.

Allen & Overy and O'Melveny courted each other for some 18 months in 2018/2019 in an attempt to create a transatlantic beast, but a merger never materialised. Instead, A&O announced last year that it would combine with Shearman & Sterling, with that deal set to complete next month.  

When the A&O and O'Melveny merger plans flopped in 2019, the US firm said at the time that both firms had "developed a great deal of mutual respect and expect to remain in close contact in the service of our shared clients".   

However, some O'Melveny partners seem to have quickly binned the memo about "mutual respect". Photos have appeared online, posted by someone purporting to be a former O'Melveny lawyer, which appear to show the US firm mercilessly extracting the piss out of A&O.

In the online blog, the anonymous author says that the US firm, at one of its "wild offsite partner meetings", was "ridiculing former Allen & Overy head Wim Dejonghe" and "making it seem like they rejected him when their merger collapsed." The author commented that the presentation was "tasteless" in its "mocking" of Dejonghe.  

Here are a couple of pictures of the firm apparently having a laugh at A&O's expense. One image shows a massive projected picture of Wim Dejonghe, portrayed as a dejected suitor, while another has O'Melveny's long-serving chair, Bradley Butwin, rejecting the courtship: 


As Americans, they could have at least photoshopped Wim giving a Boombox serenade

"They also criticize British beer," the blog continues, which is perhaps equally as  unforgiveable, given that most American beer is fizzy, ersatz shite:


To paraphrase Monty Python, drinking American beer is like making love in a canoe: It's f*cking close to water. 

In a joke, as poor as American beer, the presentation also alluded to A&O's new address being "No Movery Drive, Washington DC, 00000", which is apparently a play on "Overy":


How could the country that gave us Richard Pryor, also produce this?

The author also states that other pictures show the firm "celebrating that they were the only firm to not settle the Oklahoma opioid litigation, denying victims compensation." So not only did the US firm ream A&O, but also apparently boasts about making money out of the opioid crisis: one of the worst public health disasters in the US, where thousands of Americans died. A conference with something for everyone.

O'Melveny & Myers did not respond to requests for comment. Allen & Overy declined to comment. 

  • Credit to Jeffrey Rovner for apparently taking the photos of the partner's meeting (according to the links in the blog). However, the pictures have mysteriously been removed from the photographer's website.

    LU icon Firms ping LawyerUp when they like you for a role. It's available on the App Store and Google Play.

Thank you for taking part in RollOnFriday's survey of in-house lawyers. We use the results to write stories and reports. We don't take your name and so the answers you provide will be kept anonymous.
Your role
Your sector
When you're picking a firm, what's the most important factor?
How do you think the size of your in-house team will change over the next two years?
Will this be at the expense of instructing private practice?
How happy are you with your external lawyers working from home?
Tip Off ROF


Poopot 12 April 24 09:26

Criticising our beer? 

It's 1775 again lads, grab your pitchforks and muskets and let go!

OMM seem like a lovely bunch 12 April 24 09:38

Bit harsh on American beer though. Yes, the big-name lagers like Bud/Miller/Coors are watery pish, but I did a US road trip a few years ago and was seriously surprised at how much good craft beer there was - even in tiny bars in the middle of nowhere (many of which seemed to brew their own).

Admiral Cockburn 12 April 24 10:04

Even in the extremely limited field of multijurisdictional law firm merger humour, this is extremely weak. 

Almost as weak as American beer, in fact. 

Anonymous 12 April 24 10:18

Do you remember Asterix in Britain, when the landlord offers to take the chill of beer which is visibly steaming?  Happy days.

Anonymous 12 April 24 12:35

Am I the only one who thinks that Butwin (is he really called that?) looks like a [redacted] Willi Wonka?  

“International firm” git 13 April 24 00:36

A&O, the most identity lacking and snoozefest magic circle firm and Shearman. The only failing US firm with the most insufferable GR department merge. What a colossal pile of excrement they’ll create together. 

I disagree 13 April 24 09:26

A few decades ago Shearman was the elite of the elite in New York City. Their mistake was failing to see the ascent of private equity but even today their clients and matters place them among the top 10 NYC firms in terms of prestige.

Whatever you want to say about them, they're better than a firm that trots out its middle aged female partners, puts them in mini dresses and makes them perform cringy showtunes at partner meetings.

anonymous 13 April 24 17:48

"the landlord offers to take the chill of beer which is visibly steaming"

Can anyone explain what this means? Sometimes I think Brits speak a different type of english.

Anon 14 April 24 16:40

A bit like that meme with James Corden and Ed Sheeran in a car, all I can think is how glad I am not to be at that event. 

Anon again 15 April 24 21:30

Can’t imagine A&O taking a cheap shot at O’Melveny at their partner conference - just proves that over the pond there’s a lot of pond life

Related News