2023 Vault Rankings
- Pro Bono#30
At a Glance
“MTO is a special place to practice law. The firm offers associates outstanding opportunities to develop their legal skills, and wonderful attorney mentors. The firm is also committed to a culture of diversity, transparency, and growth.”
“The people. It is hard to imagine a law firm with higher quality people; not just law school superstars, but people who are (1) genuinely interested in doing great work for clients, (2) committed to being great, supportive colleagues to one another, and (3) focused on using their own and the firm's platform to improve the communities we serve.”
“The complexity and difficulty of the issues our clients face—and the pace at which they need to be resolved—can sometimes be overwhelming.”
“Much of what makes MTO different can be what makes it challenging. Associates are often held to a standard that can seem unattainable and are expected to maintain workloads (of extremely substantive work) that can be unmanageable.”
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 ten 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.
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.
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
- Advised Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in its agreement to purchase Alleghany Corp. for $11.6 billion in cash
- Represented Wells Fargo & Company in a precedent-setting victory for lenders involving duty of care in loan modification processes before the California Supreme Court
- Represented Lyft, Inc. in multiple actions regarding the classification of rideshare drivers and the enforcement of arbitration provisions, including in the Superior Court of California, California Court of Appeal, the First Circuit, the Second Circuit and the Ninth Circuit.
- Represented PG&E in a historic settlement with six Northern California counties impacted by the 2019 Kincade Fire and 2021 Dixie Fire
• Best Places to Work For LGBTQ+ Equality, 2022 - Human Rights Campaign Foundation
• Finalist for Top Litigation Firm of the Year – The American Lawyer
• Mansfield Certification Plus Status, 2021 – Diversity Lab
• California Regional Powerhouse, 2021- Law360
• Top Defense Verdict, 2021 – Daily Journal
350 South Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Phone: (213) 683-9100
Chair: Brad Brian
Hiring Attorneys: Robyn Bacon, Margaret Maraschino, and Adam Weiss
Managing Partners: Hailyn Chen & Malcolm Heinicke
Total No. Attorneys (2022):
150 - 250
No. of Partners Named 2022:
1st year: $215,000
2nd year: $225,000
3rd year: $250,000
4th year: $295,000
5th year: $345,000
6th year: $370,000
7th year: $400,000
8th year: $415,000
Summer Associate: $4,135 /week
Kevinn C. Villard
Director of Legal Recruiting
No. of U.S. Offices: 3
No. of International Offices: 0
Los Angeles, CA (HQ)
San Francisco, CA
Labor & Employment
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.