Chief of Criminal Division for U.S. Attorney’s Office Set to Join Munger, Tolles & Olson
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Munger, Tolles & Olson announced in recent days that John Owens, Chief of the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of California, will join the firm’s litigation group as a partner, effective January 3, 2012.

Owens will leave his position with the U.S. Department of Justice in December 2011. As Chief of the Criminal Division, he has supervised over 100 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and all criminal investigations and prosecutions in the Southern District, which is one of the busiest and most productive districts in the country.


Owens has prosecuted a number of high profile cases in both the Southern and Central Districts, concentrating on white-collar criminal matters. In 2010, he successfully prosecuted Thanh Viet Cao, who was running a massive Ponzi scheme, in a jury trial. Mr. Cao received a 360-month sentence, thought to be the longest white-collar sentence in Southern District history. That same year, he prosecuted investment advisor Mark Hauze, who bilked his clients out of millions of dollars and received a 108-month sentence after trial. In 2009, Owens was the recipient of the prestigious Director’s Award for Superior Performance for his work on U.S. vs. Treadwell, in which the lead defendant received a 300-month sentence after a month long trial. In 2011, Owens received another Director’s Award for his work as criminal division chief.

Owens has tried cases and handled appeals in jurisdictions nationwide, including as a criminal defense attorney, plaintiff’s lawyer and prosecutor. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2001, Owens was an associate with O’Melveny & Myers in Washington, D.C., where he was part of Walter Dellinger’s appellate team. In 2001, he became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles and relocated to San Diego in 2004. He was named criminal division chief in June 2010.

Owens was quoted as saying: “I have long admired Munger Tolles and am honored to be joining one of the nation’s premier litigation practices. I look forward to representing clients both inside and outside the courtroom.”

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Name partner of the firm Ronald L. Olson was quoted as saying in a press release at the firm’s website: “John’s demonstrated trial and leadership skills and ability to produce results adds strength to our litigation practice. John is the latest in a long tradition of hiring highly accomplished trial and appellate attorneys at the conclusion of their government service. We are proud to have John as a partner.”

Owens graduated first in his class from Stanford Law School. Following graduation, he clerked for Judge J. Clifford Wallace of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and then for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He also served as executive editor of the Stanford Law Review and received the Stanford Law Review Board of Editors’ Award. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Supreme Court History, Northwestern Law Review, California Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and other publications.

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP (MTO) is a California law firm that has offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Charles Munger founded the firm in 1962 with six other lawyers. The firm is known for its defense of corporations in civil law suits and individuals in criminal trials and investigations. In 2008, Munger, Tolles & Olson ranked as the nation’s top law firm on the American Lawyer A-List based on financial performance, pro bono practice, associate satisfaction and workplace diversity. With nearly 200 attorneys, MTO’s work is national in scope. The firm’s principal areas of practice include bankruptcy, corporate, environmental, labor and employment, litigation, real estate and tax.


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