Dan Petrocelli hasn’t seen the inside of a courtroom in a year. For the O’Melveny & Myers litigator and chair of the firm’s trial practice, whose 40-year career has included work on many of the most high-profile, high-stakes cases in sports, media and entertainment, that unprecedented rupture has been a gift and a curse. Despite the distance, he says he’s never been more communicative with clients, who need his help more than ever, and as a result is forging stronger relationships. But he’s also spending all his time holed up in the home office he’s borrowing from his wife, the days, nights and weekends blurring into one shapeless form while he waits to get back to the courtroom.
Petrocelli, who was recently named The American Lawyer’s Litigator of the Year after successfully guiding AT&T and Time Warner through a historic antitrust trial, among other notable achievements, spoke with The American Lawyer about the “helter-skelter” future he anticipates when trials resume, his eagerness to resume in-person proceedings, and what the pandemic has meant for the litigation business.
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