Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP at a Glance

Uppers

  • “Early responsibility”
  • “Collegial and democratic”
  • “Impressive colleagues”

Downers

  • “Long hours”
  • “Black-box bonuses”
  • “Pressure for perfection”

About Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

One of SoCal's elites, Munger, Tolles & Olson, has only recently expanded beyond the Golden State. The firm is similarly consistent in its recruiting: depending on your outlook, Munger Tolles attorneys are either active proponents of public service or shrewd résumé builders (or both)-a majority of them have clerked for U.S. federal judges, while many others have worked for federal agencies, including the DOJ, the EPA, and U.S. Attorneys' offices.

Cali Firm with Cornhusker Friends

An ancient firm founded by grey-whiskered men wearing pince-nez? Not Munger Tolles. Instead, think crew cuts and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The firm was founded in 1962 by seven partners, including Charles Munger and Edwin Leroy Tolles. Munger departed after three years, but this proved to work in the firm's interests. A close friend of investor Warren Buffett, Munger went on to become vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which in turn became a long-time Munger Tolles client.

Tolles passed away in 2008, leaving Ronald L. Olson as the last name partner still in active practice at the firm. Olson, who joined in 1968, is also connected to Berkshire Hathaway (he's a director of the company) and served as Founding Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Southern California Public Radio. For many years, the Los Angeles Daily Journal (which happens to be owned by one Charles Munger) has named Olson one of California's most influential lawyers, acknowledging his work for clients like Yahoo!, the J. Paul Getty Trust, Shell Oil, Michael Ovitz, and the late Paramount chair Brad Grey.

Own It

Aside from its reluctance to expand geographically, Munger Tolles is atypical in that it promotes an "ownership mentality" among its ranks. In adherence to this culture, partners all weigh in on the pay of their fellow partners, and all attorneys may vote on all job candidates, review the firm's financial books, and participate in all important firm decisions. A highly selective firm in terms of both hiring and its acceptance of cases, Munger Tolles has historically rewarded those who make it through the hiring gauntlet with an accelerated path to partner: the average associate can be considered for the partnership within five to seven years at the firm. While the firm keeps its ranks lean, it prides itself on the diversity of talent within its doors-clients who hire Munger Tolles may find themselves with lawyers who hold graduate degrees in history, literature, medicine, economics, or physics.

Winning on Pacific Time

Proving that the West Coast can be the best coast, Munger Tolles made headlines in 2008 when The American Lawyer placed it atop the magazine's "A-List." It was the first time the honor had gone to a firm outside New York, but not the last: Munger Tolles placed #1 on the AmLaw A-List four more times, most recently in 2017. Today Munger Tolles operates over a half-dozen practice areas, with growing strength in criminal investigations and defense, as well as appellate work. Niche practices include tax and bankruptcy. The firm counts among its clients some of California's largest companies (think entertainment, energy, and retail), national corporations, large universities, foreign government agencies, and international corporations.

IN THE NEWS

April 2018

Munger, Tolles & Olson represented FX Networks and Pacific 2.1 Entertainment Group in winning dismissal of actress Olivia de Havilland's lawsuit alleging breach of the right of publicity and false-light claims based on the FX docudrama "Feud: Bette and Joan." A three-judge panel in the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, found that Feud's depiction of Ms. de Havilland was protected speech under the First Amendment, a major victory for filmmakers and other content creators.

February 2018

Munger, Tolles & Olson won a federal jury trial on behalf of family-owned door manufacturer Steves & Sons on claims against JELD-WEN, a supplier of door manufacturing products. The jury found that JELD-WEN violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act, which bans mergers that substantially lessen competition, and is believed to be the first jury trial applying Section 7 in the past 40 years. The jury awarded Steves $12 million in past damages and $46.5 million in future lost profits.

January 2018

Munger, Tolles & Olson represented the founder and CEO of siggi's, a top-selling yogurt brand, in the company's sale to French dairy company Lactalis in January 2018.

September 2017

Working with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and the Inner City Law Center, Munger, Tolles & Olson obtained a complete appellate victory on behalf of two renters and all 16 million California tenants when for the first time in a published opinion the Appellate Division of Los Angeles Superior Court held that tenants have a right to trial by jury of the habitability defense to an eviction action.

August 2017

In a case that is shaping the future of copyright litigation and the growing digital streaming market, Munger, Tolles & Olson represented Disney Enterprises, Lucasfilm, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment in winning a preliminary injunction-and Ninth Circuit affirmance of the same-against VidAngel, a service that offers unlicensed streaming of motion pictures and television shows. The Ninth Circuit's opinion put other infringers on notice and set an important precedent for protecting content creators in the digital world. Munger, Tolles & Olson also represented the studios in obtaining dismissal with prejudice of VidAngel's antitrust counterclaim and copyright misuse defense.

August 2017

Retained three weeks before trial was set to begin, Munger, Tolles & Olson obtained a win on behalf of ROAR LLC co-founder Jay Froberg in a contentious fight over control of the entertainment management company. The company itself and three co-owners sued Mr. Froberg, claiming he breached his fiduciary duties, violated other obligations, should be removed from the company he founded, and should be forced to pay them more than $15 million. The court denied plaintiffs' claims and requested relief across the board, finding that there were no damages, plaintiffs were not entitled to any monetary relief and that Mr. Froberg could not be removed from the company.

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Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

350 South Grand Ave.
50th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Phone: (213) 683-9100

Stats

  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partners: Brad Brian & Sandra Seville-Jones
  • Hiring Attorneys: Daniel Levin, Carolyn Luedtke, & Fred Rowley
  • Total No. Attorneys 2018: 196

  • Base Salary
    All offices
    1st year: $190,000
    2nd year: $200,000
    3rd year: $220,000
    4th year: $255,000
    5th year: $280,000
    6th year: $305,000
    7th year: $325,000
    8th year: $340,000
    Summer associate: $3,654/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    17 out of 18 (2Ls) (2018)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Corporate • Environmental • Financial Restructuring • Labor & Employment • Litigation • Real Estate • Tax

Major Office Locations

  • Los Angeles, CA (HQ) • San Francisco, CA • Washington, DC