Munger Partners, Up for Ninth Circuit, Disclose Pay

, The National Law Journal


Munger Tolles' John Owens
Munger Tolles' John Owens

Two Munger, Tolles & Olson litigation partners nominated for seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reported earning a combined $1.6 million from the firm during 2012, according to congressional records.

The financial disclosures – part of the Senate’s judicial confirmation process – provide an insider look at the compensation at one of the nation’s most profitable law firms. The Los Angeles-based Munger Tolles reported $1.56 million in profits per partner in 2012, which ranked them No. 39 in that category on the Am Law 200, NLJ affiliate The American Lawyer’s annual survey of law firm revenues.

The two nominees – John Owens in Los Angeles and Michelle Friedland in San Francisco – each disclosed compensation of about half of that amount, according to records filed with the Senate Judiciary Committee. President Obama nominated them for openings on the court on August 1. Munger Tolles ranked No. 235 on the 2012 NLJ 350 with 88 partners. That survey ranks law firms by headcount.

The attorneys and the firm declined to comment for this story.

Owens and Friedland both graduated from Stanford Law School, clerked for a U.S. Supreme Court justice and are about the same age – Owens was born in 1971, Friedland in 1972. But they have taken different paths to becoming litigation partners at Munger.

Owens, who was a prosecutor for 11 years before joining Munger in January 2012, disclosed a $840,845 partnership draw from the firm last year. He came from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of California, where he most recently headed the criminal division and previously was deputy chief of the major frauds section.

He splits his time between Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, representing individuals and corporations in government investigations, according to his firm profile.

Owens did not disclose any other compensation from the firm, including bonuses. He listed his partnership draw this year at $310,000 as of August 6 and his Munger Tolles capital account at $34,516. He reported a net worth of $2.5 million that includes an $826,000 house.

Friedland, who joined Munger Tolles in 2004 as an associate and became partner in 2010, disclosed $765,942 compensation from the firm during 2012 (along with $10,000 for teaching at the University of Virginia School of Law). She did not disclose whether that represented a partnership draw or included any bonuses.

She focuses primarily on antitrust litigation, appellate matters and constitutional and academic-affairs litigation for higher education institutions, according to her firm profile.

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