Snell & Wilmer Celebrates 35 Years of Excellence in Orange County


Orange County, CA – Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. is proud to announce the 35th anniversary of its Orange County office. Established in 1989, Snell & Wilmer’s Orange County Office has continued to grow, expand its service offerings, and remain committed to serving clients in Southern California and beyond.

"We are incredibly proud to celebrate 35 years of serving the Orange County community," said Eric S. Pezold, Managing Partner of the firm’s Orange County office. "From the outset, we wanted this office to exemplify growth, regional prominence, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. We look forward to continuing to provide exceptional legal services and supporting our clients in achieving their goals in the many years to come.” 

The Orange County Office, Snell & Wilmer’s second largest office, has grown to almost 70 attorneys that offer a diverse range of services across practice areas. Attorneys serve a diverse client base that includes the nation’s largest financial institutions, start-up technology and life science companies, private and publicly held corporations, manufacturers, software companies, major utilities, healthcare providers, and more.

“I have had the pleasure of witnessing the dedication of the attorneys and professional staff who have helped the Orange County office become what it is today,” said Barbara Dawson, Snell & Wilmer Firm Chair. “As our firm looks to strengthen and expand its presence, Orange County serves as a blueprint of what can be achieved when we invest deeply in the relationships we build.”

In late March 2024, the Orange County office was recognized as the seventh largest law office in the Orange County Business Journal’s 2024 List of Law Firms in the region and has been ranked in the top 10 largest law firms in the area by the publication since 2018. Its attorneys are consistently recognized for their exceptional legal skills and ethical practices by clients and peers alike. Honored by organizations such as Southern California Super Lawyers and Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business®, they actively engage in various community and civic activities, supporting numerous nonprofits. Their commitment to philanthropy has earned them prestigious awards, including recognition as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in Orange County. Notably, Snell & Wilmer was twice named "Law Firm of the Year" by the Public Law Center for its pro bono leadership in providing access to justice for low-income residents.

Bill O’Hare, former Orange County managing partner who led the office over two decades of growth, shared, “From the start, the ambition was to build a new full-service California law firm, infused with our firm culture and DNA developed over the preceding five decades. 35 years later and counting, I am gratified that ambition is fully realized and that our Orange County project was the first step in the entire firm’s transformation to our present day regional and national presence.” 

Steven Graham, one of the founding partners of the Orange County office and its first fulltime partner, reflected on the firm’s history, saying “From the 1930’s to 1989, Snell & Wilmer operated out of only Phoenix AZ. But in 1989, the firm initiated a thoughtful and targeted expansion into California and Tucson.” Now with 16 locations, Graham attributes the firm’s success to its culture and team effort, saying, “Although there are key individuals and groups that worked together throughout this expansion, our success is due to the commitment to our culture through the concerted efforts of many within the firm as a whole. Our culture’s common thread is a DNA of excellent service to our clients, a commitment to our communities, and a truly relational collegiality at every seat in the firm. This culture continues to distinguish us in the markets in which we are honored to serve.” 

“As the first attorney in any of our California offices to focus solely on representing and advising owners and managers with regard to the maze of employment laws that must be followed in California, it has been a real pleasure to build and work with a great team of lawyers who work diligently to assist our clients through the many challenges they face,” said partner Christy Joseph, who joined the Orange County office soon after it opened.  

Looking forward, Snell & Wilmer remains dedicated to maintaining its high standards of quality, innovation, diverse service offerings and client base. These enduring principles form the cornerstone of the firm’s mission, guiding the Orange County office in striving for superior client service, a positive work environment, and a commitment to community service and leadership.

About Snell & Wilmer
Founded in 1938, Snell & Wilmer is a full-service business law firm with more than 500 attorneys practicing in 16 locations throughout the United States and in Mexico, including Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego, California; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; Boise, Idaho; Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Portland, Oregon; Dallas, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Seattle, Washington; and Los Cabos, Mexico. The firm represents clients ranging from large, publicly traded corporations to small businesses, individuals, and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit