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Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Los Angeles

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP - Los Angeles
  • 355 South Grand Avenue
  • 35th Floor
  • Los Angeles
  • California
  • USA
  • CA 90071-1560
  • Managing Partners: Sandra Seville-Jones
  • Number of partners: 89
  • Number of lawyers: 194
  • Website: www.mto.com 

Firm Overview:
For more than 50 years, Munger, Tolles & Olson attorneys have been partnering with clients on their most important and complex cases and deals. With offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, it maintains a national and international practice. The firm’s principal areas of practice include litigation, corporate, labor and employment, environmental, real estate, financial restructuring and tax. Munger Tolles has purposefully maintained a one-to-one overall partner-to-associate ratio. The firm believes this instills a work ethic that results in a cost-effective approach for its clients. In every representation, each of its nearly 200 lawyers is expected to make a difference in developing and implementing strategies to obtain the best results for the client. In order to provide excellent service, the firm strives to hire only the most qualified and creative lawyers. The firm believes that clerkships provide valuable experience. In this regard, nearly 70 percent of its attorneys served as law clerks to federal judges. Thirteen attorneys were clerks to U.S. Supreme Court Justices. The firm’s clients include Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway, Edison International, KB Home, LG Display, Transocean, Verizon and Wells Fargo.

Main Areas of Practice:  

Munger Tolles’ corporate practice includes mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and corporate governance counseling. Significant transactions include representing:
•Air Lease Corporation, a startup that has quickly become a leading force in the aircraft leasing business, in more than $2.8 billion in debt and equity issuances, and its $900 million initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange
•Beats Electronics, a major headphone and audio products company, in several significant equity transactions, acquisitions and bank financing transactions
•Berkshire Hathaway in multiple transactions, including most recently its $28 billion acquisition of H.J. Heinz Company, together with 3G Capital
•HealthCare Partners in being acquired by DaVita in a cash and stock transaction valued at $4.42 billion

Munger Tolles lawyers have earned a national reputation for intellectual brilliance and strategic problem-solving, consistently delivering big results in high-stakes matters. The firm practices across a range of areas, including antitrust, class actions, environmental, intellectual property, labor and employment, privacy, trials and white collar.

Munger Tolles’ trial lawyers are frequently tapped to tackle some of the most high-profile cases across a range of industries. While they are often successful at guiding clients to an efficient and fast resolution of a matter, they are also recognized for their “deep bench of trial lawyers,” as noted by The American Lawyer. Most recently, the firm’s trial teams have represented:
•J.C. Penney in defending an action brought by Macy’s in the New York State Commercial Division concerning Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s licensing of designs and the Martha Stewart brand for the manufacture and sale of a wide range of home products
•Transocean and certain of its subsidiaries, which owned or operated the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, in multidistrict litigation arising from the April 20, 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
•Philip Morris USA in a three-month California consumer class action trial relating to the marketing of “light” cigarettes; plaintiffs recovered nothing on their claims; the case was named a Top Defense Verdict of 2013 by the Daily Journal newspaper
•Wells Fargo Bank in obtaining a unanimous jury verdict in federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota, in a suit alleging mismanagement of pension investments in its securities lending program

Class Actions:
From consumer claims to securities cases, Munger Tolles litigators regularly represent clients in defending significant class actions. The firm was recognized as a 2014 Class Action Practice Group of the Year by Law360. Recent matters in this area include representing:
•Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo in defeating class action claims alleging that compliance policies requiring internal securities trading violated California’s forced patronage laws
•LG Display in settling a class action brought on behalf of direct and indirect purchasers stemming from allegations of price-fixing among manufacturers of display panels
•NCAA in a class action, led by Edward O’Bannon, former UCLA basketball star, which claims violation of the antitrust and right-of publicity laws in connection with the allegedly unauthorized use of NCAA players’ names and likenesses in video games and in televised broadcasts of college football and basketball games

With the rise of social networking technologies and companies’ increasing focus on personalizing consumer experiences in the online sphere, privacy and data protection today are important issues to numerous industries. Munger Tolles lawyers have been at the forefront of several cases in this area, including representing:
•Facebook in appeals before the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court challenging the use of cy pres in class action settlements
•University of California against claims of the unauthorized disclosure of patients’ personal medical information stemming from an Internet hack of university computer servers
•Verizon Wireless in nationwide class actions alleging telecommunications industry involvement in alleged National Security Agency antiterrorist electronic surveillance programs

Areas of Practice

  • Antitrust
  • Bankruptcy
  • Corporate
  • Entertainment
  • Environmental
  • Intellectual Property
  • Labor and Employment
  • Litigation
  • Real Estate
  • Tax
  • Technology
  • White Collar


  • 355 South Grand Avenue,
  • 35th Floor,
  • Los Angeles,
  • California
  • USA
  • CA 90071-1560
  • Tel +1 213 683 9100
  • Fax +1 213 687 3702
  • Website : www.mto.com
  • 560 Mission Street,
  •  27th Floor,
  • San Francisco,
  • California
  • USA
  • 94105
  • Tel +1 415 512 4000

Antitrust - California

What the team is known for Highly regarded California firm. Primarily acts for clients in major antitrust litigation, though also undertakes transactional work. Exhibits strength in media and entertainment and pharmaceuticals, among other industries.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Munger has some inordinately talented people." 

"They are very smart and know our business very well. Very commercial and practical."

Work highlights Represented Abbvie in the US Supreme Court in a so-called 'reverse payment' patent case concerning settlements between brand-name pharmaceuticals producers and generics companies.

Acted for BNSF Railway in defense of a case alleging price-fixing and monopolization in rail transportation.

Notable practitioners  

Glenn Pomerantz is "one of the top folks" in antitrust in the state, according to sources. He recently acted for Universal Music in the digital music antitrust litigation in the Southern District of New York.

Jeffrey Weinberger is a "sophisticated antitrust lawyer" whom sources highlight as "very practical and pragmatic." Among his recent work is acting for Abbvie in the Supreme Court in a case concerning the antitrust implications of 'reverse payment' patent settlements.

Bradley Phillips acts across a range of complex commercial litigation, including antitrust disputes. He acted for Universal Music Group in the FTC review into its acquisition of EMI's recorded music arm. One source highlights him as a "brilliant lawyer."

Significant clients LG Display, Fox Entertainment, NBCUniversal, Takeda, Warner Bros.

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - California

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

Corporate/M&A - California

What the team is known for A sophisticated M&A practice with an enviable client roster of both private and public companies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"They have a terrific base of knowledge and a steady stream of sophisticated work."

"Munger, Tolles & Olson stresses quality over quantity and it shows, with top-notch legal advice from senior lawyers."

Work highlights Represented Berkshire Hathaway on the $28 billion acquisition, with 3G Capital, of H.J. Heinz.

Acted for BDT Capital Partners as minority investor on the $1 billion acquisition of Peet's Coffee & Tea and the $340 million acquisition of Caribou.

Notable practitioners

Los Angeles-based Robert Denham is well regarded for his work in general corporate and M&A matters, with peers saying he is "a very thoughtful, seasoned adviser to his clients." Clients appreciate his "knack, when you're working with him, for making you think that this was the only thing going on in his professional life." He recently represented HealthCare Partners in its $4.42 billion acquisition by DaVita.

Clients and peers are full of praise for Los Angeles partner Mary Ann Todd, who is "a very levelheaded, thoughtful lawyer who gets things done whilst, at the same time, watching out for her clients' interests." She has acted on major transactions, including Berkshire Hathaway's acquisitions of H.J. Heinz and Oriental Trading. Peers say she is "very talented, very commercial and has very good judgment."

Mark Kim focuses on corporate governance issues, joint ventures and M&A transactions. His practice covers a range of industries, including life sciences, gaming, and oil and gas.

Significant clients Air Lease, The Yucaipa Companies, Edison International, Universal Music Group, BDT Capital Partners.

Energy & Natural Resources - California

What the team is known for Seven-partner energy group which stands out for its client focus and strong track record in handling high-stakes energy disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"MTO is both extremely responsive and invariably reliable."

Work highlights Assisted Southern California Edison in connection with the high-impact closure of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Advised Edison International with respect to the financial transaction to restructure the bonds issues by its subsidiary Edison Mission Energy.  

Notable practitioners  

Henry Weissmann repeatedly impresses clients with his "well thought-out advice." He is greatly experienced in challenging government energy regulations and in assisting clients involved in class actions, including major power plants.

Significant clients Transocean, TEPCO, Occidental Petroleum, Motiva Enterprises, Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co.

Labor & Employment - California

What the team is known for Handles the full scope of labor and employment issues on a local and national scale for marquee names such as Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch. Remains at the cutting edge of developments, particularly in coverage of employee mobility and trade secrets matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"Excellent, totally dedicated. They've provided countless hours of the highest quality representation with excellent outcomes." 

"Big law firm quality at medium-sized law firm prices"

Work highlights Successfully obtained dismissal of several putative class actions for Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Resolved a significant class action for 99¢ Only Stores, involving more than 29,000 employees and numerous wage and reimbursement-based claims.

Notable practitioners

Terry Sanchez is praised for his "very deep and broad knowledge of federal and Californian state employment laws," and is held out as a market leader for his high-level defense litigation work. His "exceptional level of expertise" sees him handle complex matters for names such as Wells Fargo, Shell Oil and Warner Bros.

Katherine Forster is hailed by clients as "pragmatic, practical, well prepared and not afraid to proceed to trial if necessary." She combines her extensive litigation practice with providing counsel across a range of areas in this space.

Malcolm Heinicke is credited with "an amazing reputation as a hard negotiator and a brilliant strategic mind for fighting class actions and complex litigation." He recently obtained dismissal of a putative class action brought against 99¢ Only Stores. 

LA-based Alan Friedman is a longstanding member of the Munger Tolles employment team. He deals with a broad spectrum of labor and employment matters, including litigation and counseling.

Significant clients Southern California Edison, Oaktree Capital, Western Asset Management, Warner Bros., Bank of America.

Litigation - California

What the team is known for California firm with deep understanding of the workings of state law at the appellate level. Involved in appeals across a number of sectors including cases relating to the healthcare and finance areas. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are very creative and also speak candidly about which approaches make most sense."

"They do a good job of presenting themselves, and they have a specialty in the state court area."

Work highlights Represented Shell Oil in a sophisticated appeal surrounding a suit brought by a native Alaskan village alleging that the defendant contributed to global warming.

Acted on behalf of Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch in an appeal arising from class action claims surrounding securities accounts. 

Notable practitioners  

Daniel Collins and Fred Rowley are key contacts for the practice.

Significant clients AbbVie, Boeing, Norton Simon, Verizon, General Reinsurance.

Litigation - California

What the team is known for Impressive depth of expertise across securities and commercial litigation. Both elements encompass the representation of a series of major banks in both state and federal disputes, particularly those arising from the financial market collapse.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"They were all fantastic and did a great job. They are the type of people you want lawyers to be - they are all very intelligent and tend to be very humble." 

"They have been excellent and creative. They have mastered the facts and the tactical context very well and brought clear-headed thinking to the case."

Work highlights Defended Transocean in high-value litigation arising from the oil spill from its Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Acted for Facebook's board of directors in shareholder class action and derivative claims arising from its May 2013 IPO.

Represented Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in shareholder litigation arising from the company's decision to issue a new type of Class C stock.

Notable practitioners  

Brad Brian is one of the leading trial lawyers both in California and nationwide, enjoying a superlative reputation for his prowess in general commercial and white-collar litigation. According to market commentators, he is "a veteran who is very experienced and insightful, and a great leader; someone with charisma, and very well reputed."

The "superb" John Spiegel maintains a broad practice covering all aspects of commercial and securities litigation. Sources speak of the depth of his insight, saying: "He is a real strategist who is very, very savvy on the dynamics of securities litigation."

Ronald Olson is a highly experienced commercial litigator who is described by one source as a "driving force" at the firm. He covers the full range of commercial issues in his litigation practice.

The "excellent" Marc Dworsky is lauded as an "extremely smart" practitioner. His litigation practice focuses on securities matters, with experience in handling high-stakes class actions and derivative lawsuits.

Significant clients Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway, Citigroup, Corinthian Colleges.

Litigation - California

What the team is known for California stalwart with an impressively broad range of expertise in criminal matters and internal investigations for a diverse collection of clients. Particularly pronounced abilities in FCPA proceedings, qui tam claims under the False Claims Act and allegations of antitrust violations.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Their work product is extremely high-quality, including internal investigations and FCPA matters. They are all intelligent lawyers and responsive in their work."

"Everything was done very well and so efficiently. They staff very leanly, with very smart lawyers." 

Notable practitioners  

The "incredible" Brad Brian is a renowned figure in the California litigation market. Sources are effusive in their praise, with one saying: "He is incredibly tenacious, inventive and always seems to be thinking about how to do things better." His broad practice incorporates legal malpractice, the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act and FCPA violations.

John Spiegel is described by sources as "an outstanding lawyer." He is a former US Supreme Court clerk, and has a great depth of experience both in civil and criminal litigation.

"Great lawyer" Bart Williams maintains a broad practice across general commercial and white-collar criminal litigation, and government investigations.

Media & Entertainment - California

What the team is known for Offers a wealth of experience in the media and entertainment spheres and maintains strong relationships with major Hollywood studios and record companies. Houses litigation expertise across diverse matters such as copyright validity, the right of public performance and digital download accounting challenges. Developing practice in the video game industry.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are excellent, they have managed to maintain a very high quality regardless of who is working on the matter."

"Their bench is very strong and I give the team very high marks."

Work highlights Acted on behalf of Electronic Arts in a high-profile copyright infringement claim against Zynga.

Successfully defended Warner Bros. against an antitrust action brought by The Weinstein Company challenging an arbitration award previously granted to the client. This was in relation to the title of the film 'The Butler'.

Notable practitioners  

Glenn Pomerantz is described as a "phenomenal lawyer" and is recognized for his leading litigation abilities in complex media and entertainment cases. Clients note that "he is really extraordinary and has done everything from IP litigation for defendants and plaintiffs to antitrust work."

Ronald Olson has a strong reputation for the experience he brings as a "legendary trial lawyer." He is regularly called upon by senior leaders of major entertainment and technology companies for his media and entertainment litigation expertise. 

Tamerlin Godley is recognized for her entertainment litigation expertise and draws particular acclaim for her work in the music industry. Clients state: "She is very smart and her analysis is thorough; she is everything you would want an attorney to be."

Kelly Klaus has developed a strong copyright and commercial litigation practice and regularly represents clients in the entertainment field. He is noted by clients as "an incredibly smart guy who is happy to roll his sleeves up and dive down into the details."

Significant clients Universal Music Group, Fox Entertainment, Disney/ABC, Sony Music Entertainment, NBCUniversal.

Real Estate - California

What the team is known for Offers a full real estate service to clients including institutional investors and owners, lenders and developers with interests in residential and commercial development projects, acquisitions and dispositions, and real estate finance matters.

Work highlights Represented the County of Los Angeles in the negotiation of various ground leases relating to the $1 billion redevelopment of Marina del Rey, California.

Advised Simon Property Group in the $1 billion foundation of a joint venture to operate two shopping malls.

Notable practitioners  

The "very thoughtful" O'Malley Miller works on significant transactional real estate matters involving a variety of property types. He often represents developers, institutional investors and lenders.

Significant clients Oaktree Capital Management, Equity Residential, Kennedy Wilson, Yucaipa Companies, Resort Properties Group.

Tax - California

What the team is known for Small but dedicated practice focusing on high-value transactions and related corporate tax work. Sources note the high standard of the work product and the strong lawyers leading the group.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They care about us and treat us as though we're part of the team." 

"They've got top-notch lawyers working for the firm - they're responsive and smart."

Work highlights Acted for Berkshire Hathaway in its acquisition, alongside 3G Capital, of HJ Heinz. This major deal was worth $28 billion.

Represented HealthCare Partners in its acquisition by DaVita, worth $4.42 billion.

Notable practitioners  

Stephen Rose is a "great tax lawyer" and one of the foremost transactional tax partners in California. He was the lead lawyer advising Berkshire Hathaway in its acquisition of HJ Heinz. Says one source of Rose: "He has one of the biggest brains I know in tax law."

Significant clients Oaktree Capital Management, Edison International, BDT Capital Partners, NBCUniversal.

Securities - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key office is Los Angeles.

What the team is known for One of the preeminent securities litigation practices on the West Coast. Impressive record in handling litigation arising from the 2008 credit crisis on behalf of some of the nation's most recognizable financial institutions. Also adept at handling the full range of securities class actions and M&A litigation.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Very strong, especially on the West Coast. They're smart people; their intellect level is high-end."

"Really good lawyers and particularly strong brief-writers. In a case that needs complicated, thoughtful briefs they're a go-to firm."

Work highlights Defended the founders of Google in a class action brought by the stockholders alleging that a proposed stock dividend would allow the founders to maintain voting control longer than expected to the disadvantage of the other stockholders. The case was settled favorably for the clients and the stock dividend went forward as proposed.

Represented the board of directors of Facebook in a shareholder class action and related derivative suit concerning its May 2013 IPO.

Notable practitioners  

Leading California-based litigator John Spiegel is highly reputed for his impressive securities practice. In two high-profile matters Spiegel has recently led the defense of securities class actions against the founder of Google and the board of directors of Facebook.

Significant clients Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Facebook board of directors, Citi, Corinthian Colleges.