During the early 1990s, lawyers at O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles could look out their windows above South Hope Street and literally watch the lights go out on their business. The headquarters of Security Pacific National Bank, one of O’Melveny’s oldest and biggest clients, was fading before their eyes. As the months went by, more windows turned dark as offices became vacant.

When Security Pacific Corp., one of the largest financial institutions in Los Angeles, announced its merger with BankAmerica Corp. in the summer of 1991, it was touted as a marriage of equals. At first, O’Melveny lawyers tried to stay hopeful. But it soon became clear who was in charge; most of the important jobs went to Bank of America executives in San Francisco. O’Melveny might keep its painting of Security Pacific’s headquarters in its main reception area, but it was not going to keep much of the company’s business.

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