Daniel Collins is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson. Mr. Collins’ practice focuses on appellate litigation and complex civil litigation. He has represented a wide variety of clients in numerous appellate matters in the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the California appellate courts. These appellate matters have included cases involving contract law, international law, insurance law, securities law, federal preemption, the First Amendment, civil RICO, and qui tam litigation.
In 2012, after hundreds of pages of appellate briefing and two oral arguments, Mr. Collins obtained a complete reversal of what was reportedly the largest civil judgment awarded in 2008 in the U.S. (more than $603 million), and the appellate court instead ordered entry of JNOV on all claims in our clients’ favor. Mr. Collins also successfully argued two major cases in the Fifth and Ninth Circuits that effectively brought an end (for the time being) to efforts to hold the energy industry liable in tort for injuries allegedly caused by global warming. Mr. Collins’ civil litigation and appellate practice has also included the defense of significant cases under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). In particular, Mr. Collins successfully persuaded the Ninth Circuit to uphold the dismissal of ATS claims (and related state law claims) arising from an alleged incident in Colombia, thereby ending nearly 11 years of litigation.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Collins has argued in numerous federal and state appellate and trial courts. In particular, he has argued 38 cases in the Ninth Circuit, including two before the en banc court, and four cases in the California Supreme Court. Mr. Collins has also argued before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He is a member of the California Bar and the District of Columbia Bar and is admitted to practice before the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits. He has been recognized nationwide and in California as a leading appellate lawyer by Chambers USA.
Between June 2001 and September 2003, Mr. Collins served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General in the office of the Deputy Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice. While serving in the Deputy Attorney General’s office, Mr. Collins coordinated the department’s efforts on several major legislative and policy initiatives and testified multiple times before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. In particular, Mr. Collins worked extensively on the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act of 2003, which included provisions to combat child pornography and child abuse and to reform federal sentencing laws, as well as on the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act. Mr. Collins also played a key role in the formulation of the Civil Rights Division’s guidelines on prohibiting the use of racial profiling in federal law enforcement.
Prior to joining Munger Tolles in 1996, Mr. Collins served three-and-a-half years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the office of the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, prosecuting more than 60 criminal cases, including eight jury trials. For more than half his tenure, Mr. Collins was a member of the Criminal Appeals Section, where he supervised the preparation of more than 100 appellate briefs and argued many cases in the Ninth Circuit.
Mr. Collins received his A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1985. While at Harvard, he was elected First Marshal of Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his J.D., with distinction, from Stanford University in 1988 and was a member of the Order of the Coif. He served as a note editor for the Stanford Law Review and was awarded the Stanford Law Review Board of Editors’ Award for outstanding editorial contributions to the Review.
After graduating law school, Mr. Collins was a law clerk for the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1988-1989). From 1989 until 1991, he served as an Attorney Adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court during the October 1991 term (1991-1992).