Rare stock certificate for 5 shares from the Windsor Square Investment Company
issued in 1911 to Henry O'Melveny. This historic document was printed by the Union Litho Company - Los Angeles and has an embossed corporate seal with the company's name on top center. This item has the signatures of the Company’s President, Louis Isaac and Secretary, L.B. Belcher. The certificate (the only one we have seen issued to Henry O'Melveny) was issued to and signed on the verso by Henry O'Melveny co founder of the law firm, O'Melveny & Myers. The stock was issued at a cost of $1,000/share.
David Arquette bought O'Melveny's Windsor Square House in 2014.
Henry O'Melveny's signature on the back
Copy of old Windsor Square advertisement shown for illustrative purposes
O’Melveny & Myers LLP is an international law firm founded in Los Angeles, California. The firm is the 48th largest law firm in the world. It employs around 800 lawyers in 16 offices worldwide. The firm has represented clients, such as Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, Fannie Mae, Goldman Sachs, the District of Columbia, New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and other law firms. They represented former Enron Corporation chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling during his four-month fraud and conspiracy trial.
The firm was founded in 1885 as "Graves & O'Melveny" by Henry O'Melveny and Jackson Graves. The firm became "O'Melveny & Myers" when Chief Justice of California Louis Wescott Myers joined the firm after retiring from the Supreme Court. The former Chair of the firm, Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr., who serves at the firm's Washington, D.C. office, is the former White House Counsel during the Reagan Administration. Former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher (1925-2011), who served as the firm's Chairman from 1981-1991, was a Senior Partner at the firm's Century City, CA office. Litigation partner Bradley J. Butwin is the current Chair of the firm.
O’Melveny & Myers attorneys represent clients in many areas, including antitrust and competitiveness issues, appellate work, aviation law, capital markets, class-action defense, corporate law, entertainment and media law, finance and restructuring, white collar defense and corporate investigations, healthcare law, insurance and mass torts, intellectual property and technology, labor and employment law, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, project development and real estate, SEC, securities litigation, strategic counseling, tax law, and trial and litigation work.
Founder Henry William O'Melveny was born in Central City, Illinois in 1859 and moved with his family to Los Angeles ten years later. There his father became a prominent lawyer and judge. The son graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1879 and two years later was admitted to the state bar after studying the law on his own and serving as an apprentice.
On January 2, 1885 Henry W. O'Melveny joined in partnership with Jackson A. Graves. The firm played a crucial role in much of the land title work associated with the population and real estate boom that lasted until 1888, when the railroads brought in up to 1,000 people a day. That transformed Los Angeles from a small Mexican community to a bustling American city.
Many prominent individuals and businesses in Southern California used the services of the small but growing law firm, including Newton Van Nuys, Farmers and Merchants Bank, The First National Bank, James B. Lankershim, and the Los Angeles Board of Trade. In 1891 O'Melveny began representing William G. Kerckhoff, a long-term client who played a major role in developing the area's hydroelectric capacity. Near the end of his life, O'Melveny 'concluded that the most important work he had done in his professional career was in the development of hydro-electric power,' according to William W. Clary in his history of the law firm.
In 1892 the partnership began representing the Chino Valley Beet Sugar Company, later acquired by Henry T. Oxnard's American Beet Sugar Company. Later renamed the American Crystal Sugar Company, it retained the O'Melveny law firm for advice on water litigation, labor and water matters, and other concerns. Although its Chino and Oxnard factories had been closed, the sugar company in the 1960s still used the law firm as it sold its lands for residential and industrial developers.
The law firm also represented the Home Telephone Company when it was incorporated and gained a necessary franchise from the Los Angeles city government in 1897. Henry O'Melveny served the telephone company for several years after the turn of the century. The Home Telephone Company was a predecessor of the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company.
After oil was discovered in 1886 near Puente only about 20 miles east of Los Angeles, the O'Melveny law firm gained considerable work in that developing industry. It drafted oil leases, incorporated new oil companies, and provided litigation and other services for companies such as the Puente Oil Company (later acquired by Shell Company of California) and the Westlake Oil Company.
Meanwhile, the partnership assisted individuals in resolving conflicts over estates that involved valuable Southern California lands. A good example was its representation in the 1890s of heirs to the estate of Jose Diego Sepulveda and Rancho Palos Verdes. Some of that land eventually became part of San Pedro, California and Sepulveda Boulevard, which runs from San Pedro to West Los Angeles and San Fernando.
By 1900 more persons became lawyers to meet the challenges of a growing state that was rapidly industrializing. Gordon Bakken analyzed a sample of 1,168 California lawyers admitted to the bar through 1900 to track the profession's trends. Not surprisingly, he found about half of those identified practiced in either San Francisco or Los Angeles where most of the business growth had been developing. Only 18.5 percent of the lawyers sampled were specialists. To help lawyers like Henry O'Melveny and others gain access to law books, the Los Angeles Bar Association was organized to fund a new law library. Just one year after the O'Melveny firm was started, the Law Library of Los Angeles was incorporated in 1886.
After the turn of the century, the O'Melveny law firm continued to represent local banks and also assisted California Governor Hiram Johnson as he worked with the dominant Progressive Party to pass a new state banking law in 1913. In 1914 the partnership prepared the incorporation papers for the new Kaspare Cohn Commercial & Savings Bank.
For years the O'Melveny law firm was involved with water companies and water-related litigation. For example, the flooding of the Colorado River in 1905 and 1906, which created a huge inland lake called the Salton Sea that threatened to destroy Imperial Valley crops, resulted in considerable litigation. The law firm successfully represented the plaintiff in Title Insurance and Trust Company v. California Development Company, et al.
During World War I, the firm's younger attorneys joined the military, while Henry O'Melveny played a major role in encouraging Los Angeles residents to buy Liberty Bonds and promoting other patriotic causes. In 1917 O'Melveny became a director of the Los Angeles Morris Plan Company, one of 88 Morris Plan companies across the nation designed to help people get loans who otherwise were not eligible for regular bank loans. For more than 30 years the First Industrial Loan Company, owner of the Morris Plan license rights, was a client of the O'Melveny law firm.
After World War I, the law firm gained two new clients: the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company of California and the Pacific Cotton Mills Company. Since those two companies were among the first outside national companies setting up branch operations in Southern California, the O'Melveny law firm began to expand beyond its historic area.
In 1919 Henry O'Melveny became president of the Wilshire Boulevard Hotel Company, financed by the Chicago company S.W. Straus & Company. After the hotel company changed its name to the Ambassador Hotel Corporation in 1920, it provided much of the legal work for the law firm in the 1920s. Meanwhile, the law firm's partners provided legal counsel and served on the boards of many major organizations, including the California Institute of Technology, Security First National Bank, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Northrop Corporation, Arrowhead Lake Company, the Union Oil Company, the Shell Company of California, and several Bing Crosby corporations.
When the firm moved in 1928 to new offices in the new Title Insurance Building, it employed 53 persons, including nine partners, 13 staff attorneys, and other clerks and staff members. Soon the Great Depression hit the nation. Although many businesses collapsed, many lawyers prospered as they served bankruptcy clients. The O'Melveny firm thus expanded in the 1930s, serving clients such as the Guaranty Building and Loan Association, which collapsed in 1930. The firm in 1931 also helped write a new state law to charter building and loan associations, later called savings and loan associations.
The firm continued to grow during the Great Depression, hiring 17 new lawyers just out of law school from 1934 through 1939. Much of this new manpower worked on the major receivership cases, including Paramount. In the 1930s many law firms, including O'Melveny, Tuller & Myers, started labor practices after the unions expanded following the passage of the famous Wagner Act or National Labor Relations Act in 1935. Many companies needed more legal assistance following the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission and other New Deal legislation of the 1930s.
In 1939 the firm adopted the permanent name of O'Melveny & Myers after Tuller died of a heart attack. Although some partners favored adding and deleting name partners as the firm had done in the past, they voted unanimously for the permanent change as a way to eliminate confusion. In 1941 Henry O'Melveny died at age 81 after a sudden illness. Typical of other Southern California newspapers, the Los Angeles Examiner on April 16, 1941 said, 'It is seldom indeed that the life of one man can be so completely and intimately connected with the life of a great city.' With the 1939 adoption of a permanent name and the 1941 death of its founder, the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers marked a major turning point in its history.
World War II and the Early Postwar Years
The firm's practice increased in World War II due to increased government regulations over many aspects of business and also the growth of Southern California's industrial and military establishment. The law firm's growth continued in the postwar period under the leadership of John O'Melveny, a son of the founder Henry W. O'Melveny. The firm's expansion was influenced by the booming population of Los Angeles and the increase in value of goods manufactured in Los Angeles from about $2 billion in 1947 to more than $9 billion in 1962.
The firm's Litigation Department, its largest department with five lawyers in 1946, became involved in numerous antitrust lawsuits in the postwar era. For example, it represented Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century-Fox Film, Warner Brothers, and Universal Pictures in a number of antitrust suits.
In February 1964 the law firm started its branch office in Paris, mostly to serve clients with Paris offices, including Hughes Aircraft Corporation, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, and Northrop Corporation. Although most of the firm's international work was in Europe, its Entertainment Law Department did some work in Malaya, Hong Kong, Ceylon, Tahiti, and other places. The firm also represented the Brown Citrus Machinery Company in its dealings in Mexico, Argentina, and Australia, and the Suburban Gas Corporation and Garrett Corporation in Latin America. Other international work was conducted in Japan, Nigeria, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia.
As of September 1, 1965, O'Melveny & Myers employed a total of 102 lawyers, including 37 partners, three of counsel, and 62 associates. At that point, no women had ever become partner, and the firm previously had employed just three women associates--the first two in 1943, and just one in 1965. This was typical for most law firms, for it was not until the 1970s that many firms began hiring more women lawyers.
Practice in the Late 20th Century and Beyond
In the late 1970s the legal profession began a major transformation to become much more competitive and business oriented. First, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that professional association restrictions on advertising violated the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. That led to more advertising by lawyers, doctors, dentists, and other professionals.
Second, lawyers learned much more about comparative finances and management practices in large law firms with the start of two new periodicals, the National Law Journal and the American Lawyer. Previously, many large law firms were more or less secret organizations due to bar rules that discouraged any contact with the press or historians. Within a few years many firms approached the new periodicals to make sure they were included. Both soon ranked the nation's largest law firms based on the number of their lawyers, annual sales, and other financial statistics. That knowledge facilitated lateral hiring of experienced lawyers from rival firms. With the growth of the economy, new government regulations, the start of high-tech industries, and many more mergers and acquisitions in the 1980s, law firms grew by leaps and bounds.
In the 1970s O'Melveny & Myers opened two new branches. In 1976 it became one of the first West Coast firms to open a branch in Washington, D.C. In 1979 it started its Newport Beach, California office to serve clients in the rapidly growing areas south of Los Angeles, mainly in Orange County and San Diego.
Further expansion followed. For example, in the 1980s the law firm opened four new branch offices, including ones in New York City in 1983, Tokyo in 1987, and San Francisco in 1989. In 1985 O'Melveny opened its London office, which served clients in many nations. Some of the London office's representative clients at the end of the century were Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.; Bankers Trust Company; Bankers Trust International PLC; Goldman Sachs International; Dresdner Kleinwort Benson; and Korn/Ferry International.
Other offices were started in the 1990s, including the Hong Kong office in 1994. Two years later the law firm gained approval from the People's Republic of China to start a registered law office in Shanghai. The firm's web site claimed in 2000: 'O'Melveny is only one of a few international law firms to be granted this status, and our Shanghai office is now the largest foreign law office in the city.'
The firm also operated an office in Century City in West Los Angeles that originated with the firm's Hollywood office started back in 1938. In 1999 the Los Angeles Board of Education sued O'Melveny & Myers, which had represented the school district for about 30 years. The law firm was sued for malpractice because it allegedly downplayed the environmental concerns at the half-completed Belmont Learning Complex. The O'Melveny law firm was defended by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, one of its long-term rivals based in Los Angeles.
One of O'Melveny & Myers's most important lawyers in the late 20th century was Warren Christopher. He had served President Lyndon Johnson as deputy attorney general, President Jimmy Carter as deputy secretary of state, and President Bill Clinton as his secretary of state. He led the international growth of the law firm as its chairman from 1982 to 1992. As O'Melveny & Myers's senior partner, he was chosen as one of California's ten most influential lawyers, according to a California Law Business survey of 200 California attorneys.
The American Lawyer in July 2000 ranked O'Melveny & Myers as the country's 18th largest law firm, based on its 1999 gross revenue of $372.5 million. That made it the third largest law firm in Los Angeles, behind Latham & Watkins, ranked number four with $581.5 million, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, ranked number 14 with $418 million in 1999 gross revenue.
Source - International Directory of Company Histories
Windsor Square is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles in the Central L.A. region of Los Angeles County. It contains Park Mile and Ridgewood-Wilton.
The neighboring communities are East Hollywood, Hancock Park, Koreatown, Larchmont and Mid-Wilshire.
Windsor Square is a neighborhood of 1100 homes between Beverly Boulevard to the north, Wilshire Boulevard to the south, Arden Boulevard to the west and Van Ness Avenue to the east.
In 1885, during the height of the Los Angeles' first big land boom, a
syndicate of real estate investors bought 200 acres of property between Wilshire and Beverly, Plymouth and Bronson. This group was called the the Windsor Square Land Company. In 1911, that group sold the land to the Windsor Square Investment Company, which began the subdivision process.
Nearby, to the south, the construction of homes in Fremont Place began about
1910. To the west, the Hancock Park subdivision, from Rossmore to Highland,
did not start until about 1921. The creation of the community that has become today's Windsor Square was
not just the product of "business, subdivision, land records, and finance."
There was an element of romance and vision in its creation as well.
In 1911, Mr. Robert A. Rowan initiated a unique residential development and called it Windsor Square. "The "Square" ran from Wilshire Blvd. to Third Street, and from Irving Blvd. to Plymouth Blvd. This constituted a private square in which the property owners would own the streets as well as their homes. Deed restrictions set a minimum cost of $12,550 on each home to be built, in order to assure handsome homes in an exceptionally beautiful setting. "At that time there were dense groves of bamboo in the area which
needed to be destroyed before trees and gardens could be cultivated.
Intervening walls or fences were discouraged so that one garden ran into
another creating a park-like setting. Windsor Square was the first area
in the city to have the power lines below grade, an extraordinary
innovation for 1911.
Soon after the original portion of
Windsor Square opened in 1913, the developers planned to proceed with New
Windsor Square, north of Third Street. World War I intervened, and New
Windsor Square did not open for lot sales until 1920. Nearby tracts within the
200 acres were called Marlborough Square and Windsor Heights.