O’Melveny & Myers has added three partners to its M&A practice in Los Angeles.
The group, David M. Smith, Robert Graffum and Nicolai Schwarz-Gondek, have joined O’Melveny & Myers’ office in Century City from Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth.
Smith served as a managing partner of the California firm’s Santa Monica office and a member of its executive committee. Graffum and Schwarz-Gondek were partners in Stradling Yocca’s corporate practice, with Graffum having joined the firm in December 2015 after serving as counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
“M&A and private equity in particular, are areas we are looking to grow,” said Mark Easton, head of transactions for O’Melveny & Myers in Southern California. “Los Angeles has become a real hub for private equity funds, and so naturally we want to grow our practice in this market.”
O’Melveny & Myers has two offices in the greater Los Angeles area: one located in downtown Los Angeles and another one in Century City. According to the firm, it has one of the oldest and largest presences in the region with roughly 255 lawyers in both offices, 74 of whom work out of the corporate practice.
“My partners and I are thrilled to join the O’Melveny family,” Smith said. “We look forward to the additional scope of services and resources we will be able to offer on behalf of our clients and further accelerate the growth of our practice.”
Over the years, O’Melveny & Myers has built strong footprints representing entertainment and media clients, said Easton, adding that the firm is also seeking to expand its practice in the international entertainment business.
“We have added a very strong presence in China,” Easton said.
He noted that O’Melveny & Myers was one of the early entrants into the legal market in China. As more Chinese companies become interested in the U.S. entertainment industry, Easton said the firm has handled a variety of matters to introduce Chinese companies to the U.S. market.
O’Melveny & Myers’ gross revenue increased about 5 percent in 2016, from $689.5 million, to $725 million. The 648-lawyer firm came in at No. 49 on The American Lawyer’s most recent Am Law 100 list.
Stradling Yocca did not return a request for comment about the departures. The West Coast firm also lost longtime corporate partner Michael Lawhead last month to Baker & Hostetler.