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O’Melveny Scoops Supreme Court Heavyweight Michael Dreeben

Dec. 3, 2019, 5:45 PM

O’Melveny & Myers is adding Michael Dreeben, a former deputy U.S. solicitor general and Supreme Court heavyweight, as a partner.

Dreeben, who also worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, will join the firm’s appellate and white-collar practices. He starts in January and will be based in Washington.

He’s among a small group of attorneys who have argued more than 100 cases at the nation’s highest court. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts recognized that milestone in June, saying his work on behalf of the United States was exemplary.

Dreeben argued scores of significant criminal cases over his career in government. Some notable ones were in the area of search and seizure in landmark clashes over thermal imaging, DNA, GPS tracking, and cellphone searches.

A blockbuster was the high court’s Fourth Amendment case in Carpenter v. United States, in which the justices narrowly ruled that the government needs a warrant to access a person’s cellphone location history.

Leaving the government in June after three decades of such work, Dreeben said he doesn’t expect to feel differently in his new role representing private individuals and entities.

“Lawyers need to be candid and clear about their positions on the law,” Dreeben said. “It’s a process where lawyers on both sides seek to work out the meaning of the law.”

He’s joining O’Melveny at a time when it is representing parties in six cases on the Supreme Court docket this term, including the first one on the reach of the Second Amendment in nearly a decade.

Dreeben said he was attracted to O’Melveny because of his professional and personal relationship with Walter Dellinger, a partner, a former acting solicitor general, and well known appellate figure. He noted longstanding ties with other attorneys at the firm as well.

Dreeben’s also been impressed with the firm’s work. “I’ve seen O’Melveny’s track record for Supreme Court cases. Their briefs are uniformly excellent, clear and candid and present arguments in a conversational style,” he said.

Dellinger said that Dreeben “is one of the finest Supreme Court advocates of his generation and will be a powerful champion for our clients’ interests in the most complex appellate and white-collar matters.”

At O’Melveny, Dreeben will also provide crisis management counsel to boardroom clients, especially those facing government investigations.

Dreeben has been on “an active sabbatical” since leaving government. He’s traveled with his family and has taught at Georgetown University Law Center.

—With Jordan Rubin and Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Olson in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Jessie Kokrda Kamens at; John Crawley at