Fred A. Rowley, Jr.

Fred A. Rowley, Jr.

Fred A. Rowley, Jr. is a litigation partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson, where he handles appeals and complex litigation.

Fred is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He is regularly ranked as a leading appellate lawyer in Chambers USA and the Daily Journal. In Chambers USA, clients have described him as “brilliant, rigorous and dedicated” and “extremely smart and an excellent writer,” noting that he “will take enormously complex concepts and explain them perfectly.” In 2019, he was recognized by Los Angeles Business Journal as one of its Most Influential Minority Lawyers, and by the Daily Journal in its annual review of Top Appellate Reversals for his win in King v. CompPartners, 5 Cal.5th 1039 (2018), an important workers’ compensation appeal in the California Supreme Court.

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 more than 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, spanning civil, criminal, and bankruptcy matters. He has particular expertise and experience in the banking industry, representing banks in appeals arising out of the 2008 financial crisis; in the securities field, representing executives and companies in securities class action appeals; in labor and employment cases, representing companies in discrimination and class action appeals; and in the utilities and telecommunications industries, representing companies in regulatory and complex litigation appeals. Fred also 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.

Fred originally joined Munger, Tolles & Olson in 1999, and left for four years to serve as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, where he handled criminal appeals.  He rejoined the firm in 2006. 

Throughout his career, Fred has played a leadership role in civic affairs and bar organizations. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, serving as adviser to the Restatement (Fourth) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States, and served for many years as a Commissioner on the California Commission on Uniform State Laws, representing the State of California at a national conference on uniform laws issues. 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 was a board member and President of the Pasadena Southwest Little League. He previously served on the boards of Foothill Family Service and the Center for Asian Americans United for Self-Empowerment.

Fred was born in Manila, Philippines and raised in Vallejo, California.  He lives with his wife and their three children in South Pasadena, California.



Key Representations

  • Successfully representing a leading toy manufacturer in a securities class action appeal in the Ninth Circuit.
  • Persuading the Ninth Circuit, on interlocutory appeal, to reverse an order certifying a class of oil industry plaintiffs seeking economic damages arising out of a 2015 oil spill.
  • 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 two separate appeals before the Ninth Circuit.