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Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

At a Glance

Uppers

“I love my colleagues.”

“An atmosphere that cares about my needs and growth.”

“The early leadership opportunities.”

Downers

“The pressure to be the best.”

“The time demands.”

“Lean teams and early responsibility can also mean less fail-safes.”

About Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Munger, Tolles & Olson is a SoCal elite, with offices in Los Angeles; San Francisco; and Washington, DC. The firm is best known for its litigation chops, and through its highly selective recruiting process, draws in a high number of clerks. 

Cali Firm with Cornhusker Friends

Munger Tolles 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.

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 No. 1 on the Am Law A-List six more times, most recently in 2020. 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, leading Wall Street banks, foreign government agencies, and international corporations.

Own It

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.

COVID-19 Update

The firm is very busy and remains committed to its clients. We continue to maintain appropriate staffing in all of our offices to provide essential business continuity, subject to compliance with COVID-related safety adjustments (including, but not limited to, remote interviewing). We hosted a full-length virtual summer program in 2021 with the usual high-caliber work, training, social events, and networking opportunities we offer to summer associates in our in-person summer programs.

News & Awards

NOTABLE CASES
  • Represented MGM Resorts in obtaining a favorable settlement resolving claims stemming from the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.
  • Represented Lyft, Inc. in multiple actions regarding the classification of rideshare drivers and the enforcement of arbitration provisions, including in the California Court of Appeal, the First Circuit, the Second Circuit, and the Ninth Circuit.
  • Represented Disney in obtaining complete dismissal of claims of alleged character copyright infringement and contract/idea theft relating to the anthropomorphized emotion characters at the heart of Disney-Pixar’s acclaimed motion picture, Inside Out.
  • Represented Facebook when it was sued by the Russian Federal Agency of News for removing its account, which allegedly played a role in misinformation campaigns during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
  • No. 1 on A-List, 2020—The American Lawyer
  • 100 Percent Corporate Equality Index, 2021—Human Rights Campaign Foundation
  • Top Defense Verdict, 2021—Daily Journal
  • Mansfield Certification Plus, 2020—Diversity Lab
  • Media & Entertainment Group of the Year, 2020—Law360
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

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

Firm Stats

Chair: Brad Brian
Hiring Attorneys: Robyn Bacon, Margaret Maraschino, and Adam Weiss
Managing Partners: Hailyn Chen & Malcolm Heinicke
Total No. Attorneys (2021):
150 - 250
No. of Partners Named 2021:
4

Base Salary

All offices
1st year: $205,000
2nd year: $215,000
3rd year: $240,000
4th year: $275,000
5th year: $305,000
6th year: $330,000
7th year: $350,000
8th year: $365,000
Summer Associate: $3,894/week

Employment Contact

Kevinn C. Villard
Director of Legal Recruiting
(213) 683-9242
kevinn.villard@mto.com

No. of U.S. Offices: 3

No. of International Offices: 0

Major Office Locations

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

Major Departments

Corporate
Environmental
Financial Restructuring
Labor & Employment
Litigation
Real Estate
Tax
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.