“There’s an art form to choosing the right cases,” lawyer Omar Ochoa says. “Because we definitely say no more than we say yes.”
The attorney and founder of Omar Ochoa Law firm has litigated an extensive roster of cases over the years, including trials on medical fraud, antitrust, class actions, employment disputes, commercial litigation, and whistleblower lawsuits. Collectively, these cases have helped win more than $1 billion in settlements.
Knowing the signs of a winning case is key. Being able to make these judgments, he says, is necessary to forge a successful legal career.
“Even if a case looks promising at the outset, there could be little things about it that make you think this is not the kind of case you can bring value to,” he said.
Ochoa credits his parents for instilling him with the work ethic required for this cut-throat industry. His father was the Mayor of Edinburg, Texas, from 1993 to 2003, as well as from 2006 to 2009. His mother, who grew up as a migrant laborer and went on to become a certified public accountant.
“Like many parents in the Rio Grande Valley,” Ochoa said, “they raised their children to value education and hard work.”
He attended the University of Texas at Austin on a full scholarship, earning degrees in business administration, accounting, and economics, and graduated from the prestigious Business Honors Program.
After completing a master’s degree in professional accounting, he decided to make a career change and go into the law. Returning to the University of Texas, he served as Editor In Chief of the Texas Law Review, becoming the first Latino in this position. Before founding his own law firm, he was an attorney at Susman Godfrey LLP.
“I jumped in both feet first, and basically tried to take on as much responsibility as I could,” he said. “And luckily, I handled it well enough that I was trusted with more cases as time went on. So I got to work on a variety of legal matters.”
Ochoa also completed federal clerkships with two of the nation’s top legal figures — Judge Amul Thapar of the Eastern District of Kentucky (now a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit) and Judge Raymond Kethledge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Despite Ochoa’s impressive catalog of legal successes, he insists that working with such a large volume of high-stakes cases is not part-and-parcel of any legal career. He emphasizes that some lawyers might spend a decade on one case and make their name on this alone. Ochoa has worked with a wide range of clients, helping both mid-sized business owners and multinational companies to ensure the same high standard every time.
His track record of success, even at such a young age, has secured him international recognition. One of his biggest cases saw him recover hundreds of millions of dollars for car buyers who suffered from a global conspiracy within the automotive parts industry. This involved manufacturers rigging bids and artificially raising the prices of auto parts, including radiators and seat belts, which were sold to major car companies. As a result, car buyers paid more for their vehicles than they should have.
The settlement of this case resulted in the largest amount ever recovered for indirect purchasers in U.S. history. As a result, the American Antitrust Institute recognized Ochoa’s groundbreaking work, awarding him with the Outstanding Antitrust Litigation Achievement by a Young Lawyer award.
Having What It Takes
Ochoa has won other major cases. He has successfully prosecuted anti-kickback and Medicare/ Medicaid fraud claims against providers and medical equipment suppliers. He also recovered millions for taxpayers and whistleblowers who came forward when other lawyers turned down the case.
“You have to be incredibly detail-oriented throughout,” Ochoa said. “ You need to meet all the legal requirements of your case, but also be able to anticipate what the other side is going to argue as their defense, and be able to shoot that down right away.”
For some, the promise of financial rewards pulls them into the legal industry. For others, it might be the thrill of arguments or courtroom drama. For Ochoa, it’s a genuine passion for law and justice.
“Tearing into the facts of the case is one thing, but dealing with all of the issues of law that come up along the way, you better be prepared for it,” he said. “And if you don’t love the legal process and all of the work that comes with it, it’s just not going to be fulfilling.”
Find out more about Omar Ochoa Law Firm here.