Partner pay watch: O'Melveny's Leviss, now SEC associate general counsel

Signage is seen outside of the law firm O'Melveny & Myers at their legal offices in Washington, D.C., U.S. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
  • Leviss earned $1.5 mln from O'Melveny partnership last year
  • Has worked for clients including Pfizer, Royal Bank of Canada

(Reuters) - David Leviss, a former longtime O'Melveny & Myers partner in Washington, D.C., reported earning $1.5 million in 2021 partnership income from the law firm, according to a newly released ethics form he filed after joining the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June as associate general counsel.

Leviss, a white-collar defense and health partner at O'Melveny since 2011, provided legal services to clients including Pfizer Inc, Royal Bank of Canada, UnitedHealth Group, AT&T Inc and Johnson & Johnson, the form said.

Leviss also was on the O'Melveny team that defended Donald Trump's 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee in a Washington, D.C., civil court case.

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He declined to identify 20 other company clients and six individuals, saying he was bound by a confidentiality agreement.

Many top federal agency officials are required to submit public financial disclosure forms, and the documents can offer a window into how much firms pay attorneys in compensation and other benefits. Leviss received about $700,000 in anticipated calendar-year partner share for work up until June 2022, the form showed.

At the SEC, he will focus on investigation and external oversight inquiries directed to the agency.

Leviss did not immediately comment on Monday about his work at the firm.

Leviss serves under SEC general counsel Dan Berkovitz, a former commissioner at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and former partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. Compensation for senior officials at the SEC ranges from about $190,000 to $281,000.

Average partner compensation at 700-lawyer O'Melveny last year was about $2.6 million, according to an American Lawyer legal industry report in April. Leviss identified his partner share as a net amount that he said did not include his contributions for retirement and deferred compensation.

O'Melveny hired Leviss in 2011 from the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served as chief oversight counsel to the energy committee. Leviss was a U.S. Justice Department trial attorney prior to working on Capitol Hill, and he has extensive experience litigating cases under the federal False Claims Act.

Other O'Melveny lawyers who left the firm for Biden-era U.S. agency posts include Lisa Monaco, serving as the second-in-command at the Justice Department, and DOJ attorney Brad Garcia, who has since been nominated to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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