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O’Melveny’s Newest Partner Brings SEC Savvy

Peterson: most recently was general counsel for Conexant Systems Inc.

Mark Peterson is going back to where he started—bringing a corporate background and legal industry honors with him.

Peterson recently rejoined Los Angeles-based O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s office in Newport Beach as a partner in the mergers and acquisitions practice. He arrives from his most recent duties with Newport Beach-based chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc., where he has served as a general counsel, senior vice president and chief legal officer since 2008.

Peterson started his legal career at O’Melveny & Myers in 1991 after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law.

He spent 14 years as general counsel and corporate executive for several local public and private companies, and was honored at the Business Journal’s in-augural General Coun-sel Awards in the Small Public Companies category last year.

“My background with being a general counsel will work very well with the environment at O’Melveny,” he said. “O’Melveny has a strong practice with companies dealing with Securities and Exchange Commission reporting and various compliance issues. It’s a very good fit.”

Peterson’s tenure at Conexant saw the company go through a restructuring, and he worked on acquisitions, patent sales and stock offerings as part of a turnaround. He helped guide Conexant on its sale earlier this year, when San Francisco-based private equity firm Golden Gate Private Equity Inc. bought the chipmaker for $282 million.

The deal followed Conexant’s break-off of a previous merger agreement with Standard Microsystems Corp., paying the New York firm $7.7 million in termination fees.

“The company became very desirable to others, and it ended up selling,” he said. “I left with the rest of the team in connection with the acquisition.”

Peterson said the decision to return O’Melveny was an easy one.

“There was a comfort level with going back to O’Melveny,” he said. “The opportunities I’ve had [as an in-house counsel] coupled with the lawyering at O’Melveny—that’s a combination you don’t often see. Most big firm lawyers have spent their careers in a law firm.”

Perspective

Peterson said his experience as an in-house lawyer has given him perspective on various corporate conditions.

He worked for Irvine-based telescope maker Meade Instruments Corp. prior to Conexant. He served as Meade’s corporate lawyer and senior vice president of international operations.

After Meade, Peterson spent time at Anaheim-based Targus Inc., a company that makes computer cases and bags, as well as accessories ranging from batteries to keypads.

Background

O’Melveny Managing Partner Jeff Walbridge said Peterson brings an ideal background to his new position.

“His deep connection to the business and in-house legal communities of Orange County will augment the wide range of services we already offer to local companies,” he said in a statement.

Peterson is an Orange County native and has spent his entire career here.

“I consider myself lucky to have worked here for the last 20 years,” he said. “It’ll continue to be a hub for innovation and technology in the future. I’m pleased to still be here in Orange County.”

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