Bryan H. Heckenlively

Bryan H. Heckenlively

Bryan H. Heckenlively is a litigation partner and trial lawyer in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles & Olson.

He handles complex litigation for clients in the technology, financial services, and higher education industries and has successfully tried multiple cases to verdict as lead counsel.

In the higher education space, his recent notable cases include obtaining a $67 million settlement for the UC Regents as lead counsel in a dispute with Under Armour related to Under Armour’s attempt to cancel its sponsorship agreement with UCLA, serving as lead counsel for UC in a range of First Amendment cases involving campus speech issues, winning a significant Public Records Act decision for UC as lead counsel in a novel lawsuit brought by Professor Richard Sander, and winning summary judgment for CSU in two cases involving First Amendment issues and alleged retaliation at San Francisco State.

In 2021, Mr. Heckenlively was recognized in Bloomberg Law's They've Got Next: The 40 Under 40,” and in 2018, Mr. Heckenlively was named to the American Bar Association’s list of Top 40 Young Lawyers for exemplifying “a broad range of high achievement, innovation, vision, leadership, and legal and community service.” He has been recognized as a Rising Star by Northern California Super Lawyers every year since 2016.

Mr. Heckenlively is committed to pro bono work and community organizations. He currently represents Native American students in a highly publicized case against the federal government seeking to obtain access to education. He has also represented public health organizations opposing a Florida law preventing physicians from discussing firearm safety with their patients. Mr. Heckenlively has served on the boards of a number of bar associations and legal services organizations. He is involved with the trial advocacy program at Berkeley Law and has taught as a lecturer there.


Key Representations

  • University of California in:
    • winning a jury verdict as lead trial counsel in favor of UCLA Health System, which had been accused of negligently releasing medical records in violation of California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act;
    • obtaining dismissal of critical portions of a high-profile First Amendment lawsuit alleging unlawful discrimination against conservative speech at UC Berkeley;
    • obtaining dismissal with prejudice of all claims in a $23 million lawsuit brought by a member of the public who was injured during violent protests against a conservative commentator at the UC Berkeley;
    • obtaining summary judgment on whistleblower retaliation claims brought by a senior administrator and trying another whistleblower retaliation case to verdict before a jury; and
    • persuading a federal court to abstain from interfering with sexual-harassment disciplinary proceedings against the former Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law.
  • California State University in lawsuits alleging discrimination based on religion and other grounds.
  • Wells Fargo, as lead trial counsel, in obtaining a unanimous jury verdict in a case alleging breach of contract and statutory claims. The Daily Journal recognized that as a “Top Verdict of 2020.”
  • Morgan Stanley, as lead trial counsel, in obtaining a unanimous award requiring a former employee to repay an outstanding promissory note in full, plus interest and attorneys’ fees, and rejecting $9 million in counterclaims.
  • A major international contractor in obtaining a complete defense victory against a certified class following a nearly three-month arbitration hearing. The Daily Journal recognized that as a “Top Verdict of 2015.”
  • ESPN and Disney Interactive in obtaining dismissals with prejudice in two putative class actions involving the WatchESPN and Disney apps for the Roku device and alleging violations of the Video Privacy Protection Act. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the decision in the ESPN case in a precedential opinion.
  • HTC in nationwide class actions alleging that the installation and use of Carrier IQ software on smartphone devices violates the federal Wiretap Act, Stored Communications Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other laws. The court dismissed key claims against HTC following a motion to dismiss.
  • A biotechnology company in obtaining a favorable settlement of a major dispute with a large biopharmaceutical company related to development and commercialization of an oncology drug.