Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP at a Glance

Uppers

  • “People are smart, fun, and amazing”
  • “Early responsibility on cool cases”
  • “Realistic partnership prospects”

Downers

  • “Lack of structure in training”
  • “Hours are high”
  • “Lack of clarity about review/promotion”

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 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 for three consecutive years. 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

January 2017
Securing the Fortress

Munger Tolles prevailed on behalf of Fortress Investment Group in a bench trial against claims brought by HM Ruby, a life settlement hedge fund seeking more than $200 million in damages alleging breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, unfair competition, fraud and other claims. Having already eliminated several of the plaintiffs' claims on summary judgment, Munger Tolles secured a judgment on all of the plaintiffs' remaining causes of actions.

September 2016
Capital Moves

Former Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. and veteran litigator Michael B. DeSanctis joined Munger Tolles to open its Washington, D.C. office-its first office outside of California. As solicitor general from June 2011 to June 2016, Mr. Verrilli argued 37 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Among his signature victories were his successful advocacy in defense of the Affordable Care Act, for marriage equality, and in favor of federal preemption authority in the immigration field.

August 2016
Adam and Eve Stay in Pasadena

Following nearly a decade of litigation, Munger Tolles won summary judgment for the Norton Simon Museum in a lawsuit involving the ownership of 'Adam' and 'Eve,'' two works of art painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder in the 16th Century and eventually purchased by Norton Simon in 1971. The firm obtained the dismissal of the claims brought by the daughter-in-law of a previous owner of the paintings who purchased the artworks, which had been looted by Bolsheviks, in 1931. The court ruled that the previous owner declined to take advantage of restitution framework set up by the Dutch government.

July 2016
This is IT

The firm assisted Jamie Kern Lima and Paulo Lima, the founders of IT Cosmetics, in the company's $1.2 billion sale to L'Oréal. IT Cosmetics will become part of the Luxe Division of L'Oréal. According to press reports at the time, the deal was among L'Oréal's largest acquisitions.

Police Transparency

Jerry Roth served as general counsel on the San Francisco Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement, which released its report detailing the findings of a year-long investigation into potential bias in the SFPD. The Panel found that the SFPD is in need of greater transparency, lacks robust oversight, must rebuild trust with the communities it serves, and should pay greater attention to the potential for bias against people of color, with respect to both its own police officers and members of the public. Munger Tolles was among eight law firms that provided pro bono support.

May 2016
A Big Gamble

Munger Tolles represented MGM Resorts International in its $900 million acquisition of Boyd Gaming Corporation's stake in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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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, & Greg Weingart
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 184

  • Base Salary
    All offices
    1st year: $180,000
    2nd year: $190,000
    3rd year: $210,000
    4th year: $235,000
    5th year: $260,000
    6th year: $280,000
    7th year: $300,000
    8th year: $315,000
    Summer associate: $3,461/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    20 out of 20 (2Ls) (2016)

  • 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