US law firm pokes fun at failed merger with A&O, drawing parallels to Royal rift and warm British beer

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By Rhys Duncan on


Newly-surfaced pics from 2022 O’Melveny event

Image via WikiCommons/Defensie/Royal Navy (Harry and William)

Legal Cheek suspects that US law firm O’Melveny & Myers won’t be too upset about the impending merger between Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling.

Rumours of a tie-up between O’Melveny and A&O emerged in 2018, in a deal that would have created a new transatlantic giant with 3,000 lawyers and a total revenue of £2 billion. Unfortunately, the deal collapsed in late 2019, and A&O has since buddied up with Shearman, with the tie-up scheduled to go live next month.

Now, some newly-unearthed photographs appear to show O’Melveny poking fun at the transatlantic deal that never was.

Snapped at what Legal Cheek understands to be an O’Melveny event in 2022, a photo displayed on a large screen appears to depict firm chair, Bradley Butwin, with his head superimposed onto Prince Harry’s body, while William’s head has been replaced with that of Wim Dejonghe, A&O’s senior partner. A large tear is visible down the middle of the image.

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One image, again projected onto the large screen, shows a news article titled, “British Beer Really Is Too Warm, Report Finds”, and further shot of Dejonghe sitting on the back of motorcycle with Butwin in a side car. Another image shows the firm’s address at “No Movery Drive, Washington DC, 00000”, which appears to be a play on Overy.

There are a number of further shots depicting both lawyers; one featuring Dejonghe holding a large present and giant love heart, and another where Butwin appears alongside the quote, “Ain’t Happ’ning”, and one with both lawyers standing on opposite sides of ravine holding mega-phones.

The images seem to have been removed from the professional photographer’s website after Legal Cheek contacted the firm for comment.

The merger fell apart in 2019, with Andrew Ballheimer, then the managing partner at A&O, later revealing that fluctuating conversion rates were the reason behind the unraveling.

The Magic Circle player has since found a match in Shearman, with 99% of partners voting in favour of the move at the end of last year. The deal will see the creation of a true global mega-firm, with 3,950 lawyers, including 800 partners, across 48 offices and approximately £2.8 billion in combined revenues.

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