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Lawyers typically are not a group who embrace hyperbole. The law’s language is precise and exacting. Semantics and syllogisms are carefully measured. Which makes O’Melveny & Myers’ new “Adversarial Department” all the more eye-catching. An adversary is not one to be trifled with — think Spiderman’s Doc Ock or Al Franken’s Bill O’Reilly. The firm decided last year to combine its litigation, intellectual property and technology, and labor and employment practices into one menacing slogan. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines an adversary as “one that contends with, opposes, or resists an enemy.” The definition certainly fits most legal work, but it also brings to mind brandishing an ax while rushing across a grassy field, a la “Braveheart.” A sign of the times? Not likely. Mostly, it is viewed by legal recruiters as an attempt by O’Melveny & Myers, and a few other firms, to avoid the word “litigation.” Booooring, goes the thinking. No word if the firm will return its 2004 Litigation Department of the Year award from The American Lawyer.
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