Fred A. Rowley, Jr. is a litigation partner and a co-leader of the Appellate Practice group at Munger, Tolles & Olson, where he handles appeals and complex litigation. Fred is frequently recognized by his peers and top publications for his appellate work. An elected member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, he has been ranked as a leading appellate lawyer in The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers Magazine. Chambers USA describes him as an “extremely smart” practitioner, with “‘extraordinary’ writing skills and ability to explain ‘complicated concepts in a very clear way.’"
Fred represents a wide range of clients, from Fortune 100 companies to non-profit organizations, in appeals before federal and state courts across the country. He has argued nearly 50 appeals and served as lead counsel in dozens more. He has presented argument before the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and the Delaware Supreme Court (three-justice and en banc panels). He frequently appears before the California Courts of Appeal and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Ninth and Second Circuits, and has also presented argument in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court. His appellate representations cover a wide range of subjects and issues, including securities law, bankruptcy, insurance, utilities and regulatory matters, federalism and foreign affairs, antitrust, RICO, arbitration law, False Claims Act, unfair competition law, patent law and labor law.
- Winning a major appeal for a leading managed care company before the California Supreme Court concerning California’s utilization review system and the scope of pre-emption under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
- Successfully representing a national bank in an appeal before the Second Circuit arising from residential mortgage-backed securities litigation.
- Successfully representing the Norton Simon Museum before the Ninth Circuit in a long-running dispute over ownership of two paintings forcibly sold to the Nazis and returned to the Netherlands following World War II. In the latest appeal—the third in the case—the Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment deeming the Museum owner of the paintings.
- Arguing a Sixth Amendment challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Successfully representing a major aerospace company in a defense contract appeal in the Ninth Circuit.
- Successfully representing a major aerospace company in a Ninth Circuit appeal from a multi-week False Claims Act trial.
- Successfully representing a bankruptcy trustee in an arbitration appeal in the California court of appeal.
- Successfully representing a national bank in a contract appeal in the New York state appellate courts arising out of mortgage-backed securities litigation.
Fred has an active practice in the U.S. Supreme Court. He is the co-chair, along with Professor Stuart Banner, of the MTO/UCLA Law School Supreme Court Clinic, which represents indigent criminal defendants in filing certiorari petitions. In that capacity, Fred serves as an Adjunct Lecturer in Law at UCLA Law School. In the October 2015 term, Fred led a team of lawyers from the clinic and the Montana Office of the Appellate Defender in Betterman v. Montana, which considered whether the Sixth Amendment’s speedy trial right applies to sentencing delays. His oral argument, the briefing in the case, and the court’s opinion rejecting the speedy trial challenge can be accessed here. The clinic’s matters can be accessed here.
After originally joining Munger, Tolles & Olson’s San Francisco office, Fred served for four years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, where he handled criminal appeals. He rejoined the firm in 2006.
Before joining the firm, Fred served as a law clerk to Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge David F. Levi of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.
Throughout his career, Fred has played a leadership role in civic affairs and bar organizations. His current appointments include:
- By appointment of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Commissioner on the California Commission on Uniform State Laws, which represents the State of California at a national conference on uniform laws issues.
- Elected member, American Law Institute, and adviser to the Restatement (Fourth) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States.
- Elected member, Chancery Club of Los Angeles.
Fred previously served as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Appellate Practice committee, co-chair of the Central District of California Lawyer Representatives to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, and president of the Federal Bar Association of Los Angeles. He has also served as a member of the California State Bar’s Standing Committee on Appellate Courts. He is a past fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Outside the law, Fred is active in his community. He has coached youth baseball and soccer, and recently completed his term as President of the Pasadena Southwest Little League, where he continues to serve on the Board. He previously served on the boards of Foothill Family Service (a non-profit that provides counseling and educational services to needy families in the Los Angeles area), and the Center for Asian Americans United for Self-Empowerment (a non-profit that promotes Asian-Americans in politics).
Fred lives with his wife Sarah, a Superior Court judge, and their three children in South Pasadena, California.