Brad D. Brian

Brad D. Brian

Brad Brian is a national trial lawyer and Chair of Munger, Tolles & Olson.

A complex civil and criminal litigator, Mr. Brian is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He is recognized by both Chambers USA and Chambers Global as one of the top trial lawyers globally, having been ranked in Band 1 in both categories. Chambers USA calls him “heavyweight litigator for the full range of commercial and criminal trials” and highlights client feedback that he is "among the best to handle big-ticket litigation.” Mr. Brian was named one of 18 Lawyers of the Decade in California by the Daily Journal (2021). He is also one of only three individuals in California to receive the designation of “Star Individual” by Chambers in category of General Commercial Litigation. In 2015-2016, he was named a “Litigator of the Year” by The American Lawyer, a “Winning Litigator” by The National Law Journal, and a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year for his victory on behalf of Transocean, an MDL litigation arising from a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2013, Best Lawyers named Mr. Brian “Lawyer of the Year” for Bet-the-Company Litigation. For 20 consecutive years, Mr. Brian has been named to the Daily Journal’s “Top 100” list of lawyers in California. In 2019, Mr. Brian was named one of the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Top 500 Most Influential People in Los Angeles.”

Mr. Brian has represented numerous Fortune 500 corporations in their most challenging, high-profile lawsuits and government investigations. This work has included multi-billion dollar trials; DOJ, SEC and/or NASD investigations for alleged securities, environmental, government contracts, public corruption, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or other violations; and conducting more than 100 internal corporate investigations. Mr. Brian has made dozens of presentations to corporate boards of directors in connection with these representations. He also has defended companies in more than 40 lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act, and has handled some of the largest criminal investigations in the country. Mr. Brian is the co-editor of Internal Corporate Investigations (ABA, 4th Ed., 2017).

Mr. Brian is widely considered a “lawyer’s lawyer,” having represented a number of the largest law firms in the country in legal malpractice and malicious prosecution matters, including three victories at trial. He has also represented lawyers in criminal investigations of alleged false statements, false loan applications, obstruction of justice, and alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Mr. Brian has developed substantial expertise in the areas of attorney-client privilege and attorney work product. His article, “The Importance of a Plan in Litigation,” was published in the 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers.

Mr. Brian has been extremely active in the community throughout his professional life. He has served as the President of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Chair of the RAND Institute for Civil Justice’s Board of Overseers, Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, and Vice-Chair of the Joffrey Ballet. He has received the Maynard Toll Award from the Legal Aid Foundation for outstanding public service, as well as the prestigious Learned Hand Award from the American Jewish Committee.

In 1977, Mr. Brian graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as the managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. Following graduation from law school, Mr. Brian served as law clerk to the Honorable John J. Gibbons of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit during the 1977-1978 term. From 1978 to 1981, Mr. Brian was an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, where he tried many criminal cases in U.S. District Court and argued numerous appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Mr. Brian graduated with great distinction in 1974 from the University of California at Berkeley, where he was one of two recipients of the Robert Gordon & Ida Sproul award for the most outstanding contribution to the university. Mr. Brian was a member of the United States All-Star Baseball team playing in the World Amateur Games in 1972. While playing varsity baseball for Berkeley, he earned three Varsity baseball letters, was Team Captain in 1973, was voted Most Valuable Player in 1974, was selected First Team All-Pac 8 (Southern Division) and Second Team Academic All-American in 1974, and was awarded an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship.


Major Cases

  • Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) as lead trial counsel in two criminal cases in Sonoma and Shasta Counties, one in 2022 and another in 2023. In both cases, the District Attorneys dismissed all the criminal charges after hotly contested preliminary hearings. In the 2023 case in Shasta County, the Court issued orders dismissing 29 out of 31 counts, including the four manslaughter charges and all other felony charges; the District Attorney dropped the remaining charges in favor of a civil settlement. Mr. Brian is also lead trial counsel in the upcoming civil trials arising from the Sonoma County Fire as well as the Dixie Fire in 2021 in Plumas and Butte Counties.
  • Transocean, a drilling company, as lead trial counsel in criminal and civil litigation arising from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After a multi-month trial, the court delivered a defense verdict finding that under the drilling contract, BP bore indemnity obligations for the millions of barrels of oil discharged from the Macondo well.
  • MGM Resorts International as lead counsel in civil litigation arising from the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. After thousands of victims threatened to sue MGM, Mr. Brian led a several-month mediation that resulted in a settlement of substantially all plaintiffs’ claims.
  • Fortress Investment Group as lead trial counsel in obtaining a complete defense verdict in a five-week bench trial in a lawsuit filed by a life settlement investment fund seeking more than $200 million in damages and bringing claims of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, unfair competition, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. (2016)
  • DoubleLine Capital and certain of its founders, including its CEO Jeffrey Gundlach, as lead trial counsel in winning a $66.7 million jury verdict in favor of Gundlach against his former employer, Trust Co. of the West (TCW), on his cross-complaint. TCW originally brought suit against Mr. Gundlach and his company, DoubleLine Capital, claiming breach of fiduciary duty, trade secret theft and tortious interference in connection with a large-scale departure of employees to DoubleLine Capital after Mr. Gundlach was fired. The jury awarded no damages on TCW's complaint against DoubleLine Capital and the individual defendants.
  • Boeing in its successful defense against $7 billion breach of contract, fraud and tortious interference claims brought by ICO Global Communications Holdings related to construction and launch of 12 satellites for a telecommunications network.
  • The Kobe Bryant Estate in the wrongful death suit against Island Express, the helicopter company that was transporting the 8 passengers – including Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna – who all perished in the crash on Jan. 26, 2020.
  • Rhonda Byrne in a copyright suit challenging the Australian author's copyrights to “The Secret,” Simon & Schuster’s all-time best seller. Mr. Brian was hired as lead trial counsel just six weeks before trial and successfully convinced a Chicago federal jury to reject all claims.
  • Lead trial counsel in a 10-week trial against the former Chairman of Columbia Savings & Loan. Mr. Brian obtained a judgment of acquittal or defense jury verdict on all 45 criminal counts. An editorial in The Wall Street Journal at the time said Mr. Brian’s closing argument brought people in the courtroom to tears. Mr. Brian’s trial win was named by The National Law Journal as one of the 10 big trial victories that year.
  • Lead trial counsel in three trial victories for national law firms accused of legal malpractice or malicious prosecution.

Public and Community Involvement

  • Chair, Munger, Tolles & Olson (2019-present)
  • Co-Managing Partner, Munger, Tolles & Olson (2015-2018)
  • American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Chair (2005-2006), Head of pro bono program to train Sudanese lawyers to represent victims of genocide before International Criminal Court (2006-2007)
  • RAND Institute for Civil Justice, former Board of Overseers, past Chair (2011-2012)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Board of Advisors (current)
  • University of California, Berkeley, Foundation – Member of the Board of Trustees (current)
  • Cal Baseball Foundation – Board Member, Co-Chair of Capital Campaign
  • Los Angeles Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, past President
  • Central District of California attorney delegates to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, past Chair
  • Legal Aid Foundation, former Board of Directors member and past President, current Co-Chair of Capital Campaign
  • Western Justice Center Foundation, former Board of Directors member
  • Pro Se Panel for the United States District Court in Los Angeles, founder and former Chair
  • Indigent Defense Panel for the United States District Court in Los Angeles, former member
  • Teaching trial advocacy at the University of Southern California Law Center, Harvard Law School’s trial advocacy program, and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy
  • Internal Corporate Investigations (ABA, 4th Ed., 2017), Co-editor
  • Joffrey Ballet, Board of Directors and former Vice Chair
  • Los Angeles County Music Center, Board of Directors, former member and Chair of Dance Committee
  • Cable One, Board of Directors (2015-present)
  • Southern California Public Radio, Board of Directors (2023-present)

Honors, Awards and Recognition

  • Named one of 18 Lawyers of the Decade in California by the Daily Journal (2021)
  • Received Global ranking for litigation trial lawyers by Chambers Global (2019)
  • Received the highest rankings in California, for commercial litigation as well as white collar and government investigations, by Chambers USA (2019, 2018)
  • Named among Top 100 most influential attorneys in California by the Daily Journal for 20 consecutive years
  • Named by the Los Angeles Business Journal among the Top 500 Most Influential People in Los Angeles (2019)
  • Listed in LawDragon as one of top 500 lawyers in country in 2020.
  • Named a "Litigator of the Year" by The American Lawyer (2016)
  • Named a "Winning Litigator" by The National Law Journal (2015)
  • Recipient, California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award (2015)
  • Recipient, Learned Hand Award, the highest honor the American Jewish Committee bestows on members of the legal profession (2013)
  • Recipient, Maynard Toll Award for Distinguished Public Service, presented by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers (inducted 1998)
  • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers (inducted 2013)
  • Recognized among the top five commercial litigators in the state by California Lawyer
  • Identified by The National Law Journal for having among the top 10 trial victories in the United States
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in five separate categories including business litigation, criminal defense, legal malpractice and bet-the-company cases
  • Fellow, Berkeley Fellows (inducted 2015)
  • American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Chair (2005-2006), Head of pro bono program to train Sudanese lawyers to represent victims of genocide before International Criminal Court