John W. Spiegel

John W. Spiegel

John W. Spiegel is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson.

Mr. Spiegel is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and ranked by Chambers USA as one of two “Star Individuals” in securities litigation in California and as a “leading lawyer” in general commercial and white collar litigation. He is also ranked in The Best Lawyers in America with bet-the-company litigation and commercial litigation.

Mr. Spiegel combines a general trial practice with extensive experience in securities and shareholder litigation, internal and governmental investigations, corporate governance and related matters.

Before joining Munger Tolles, Mr. Spiegel clerked for Justice Byron White of the U.S. Supreme Court and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, where he tried approximately two dozen cases in U.S. District Court. He also served as Special Assistant to Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Mr. Spiegel played first on the varsity tennis team at Stanford University and received the “Block S” award for the varsity athlete with the highest grade point average. He continues to compete in USTA national tournaments.

Pro Bono and Bar Activities

  • General counsel of the “Christopher Commission,” the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department appointed in the aftermath of the Rodney King incident to investigate and recommend improvements in the LAPD. Serving pro bono as general counsel, Mr. Spiegel was responsible for directing the volunteer staff of over 100 lawyers and accountants and for overseeing the drafting of the Commission’s Report issued in 1991.
  • Chair of the American Bar Association Litigation Section Coordinating Group on Civil Justice Reform, co-chair of the ABA Litigation Section Committee on Class Actions and Derivative Suits and chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Committee on Professionalism.
  • Trial advocacy instructor at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), University of Southern California Law Center and Hastings Center for Trial and Appellate Advocacy.
  • Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.


Key Representations as Lead Trial Counsel

  • Rent-A-Center, Inc. in obtaining judgment after expedited trial in Delaware Court of Chancery in February 2019 holding a merger termination valid and resulting in payment to Rent-A-Center of a $92.5 million termination fee.
  • The Los Angeles Clippers in litigation against Madison Square Garden, which is challenging the development of a new arena in Inglewood, California.
  • A leading biotechnology company in its successful defense against a $100 million breach of contract claim brought by Fortune 50 pharmaceutical company.
  • Adelphia as lead trial counsel in successfully recovering $68 million in a post-trial settlement against Motorola in a case alleging aiding and abetting fraudulent accounting practices at Adelphia.
  • Jacobs Engineering in winning a $26 million judgment after a three-week court trial involving engineering services provided to all courthouses in Southern California.
  • Warner Bros. in litigation with actor Charlie Sheen arising from his termination from the television series “Two and a Half Men.” Mr. Spiegel received a California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Award for his representation in this case.
  • Occidental Petroleum in obtaining an arbitration award against Chevron Texaco regarding the allocation of costs in the operation of a major oil field.
  • Southern California Edison Company (SCE) in obtaining favorable results in litigation arising from the California power crisis in 2000-2001.This litigation included an action by SCE against the California Public Utilities Commission resulting in a settlement by which SCE recovered billions of dollars of electricity procurement costs, and breach of contract actions by dozens of electricity generators against SCE, which were dismissed by the coordination trial judge.

Key Representations in Securities and Shareholder Litigation and Related Matters

  • Various clients, including Northrop Grumman Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, Edison International, Intel Corporation, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Mattel and Corinthian Colleges in obtaining dismissals of federal securities fraud class actions and shareholder derivative suits and affirmances of dismissals on appeal in the Ninth Circuit. Results included obtaining a published decision confirming important defenses for directors and officers under the federal securities laws (Metzler Investment GMBH v. Corinthian Colleges, 540 F.3d 1049 (9th Cir. 2008)).
  • Transocean Ltd., the parent company and indirect owner of the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, in obtaining dismissals with prejudice in shareholder derivative litigation and federal securities cases arising from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
  • The founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, in litigation in Delaware Chancery Court challenging the issuance of non-voting stock alleged to extend the founders’ voting control of Google. A settlement agreement reached the day before trial permitted the issuance of the challenged stock.
  • A former CEO in a case of first impression brought by the SEC under Section 304 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, seeking “clawback” of the CEO’s bonuses and stock profits without allegation of wrongdoing by the CEO.
  • Mattel and its officers and directors in shareholder litigation arising out of the recall of toys manufactured in China. This matter was named one of the Los Angeles Daily Journal’s top 10 California defense verdicts of the year.
  • Former officers and directors of IndyMac Bank and New Century Financial Corporation in litigation and investigations arising from the financial crisis.
  • One of the nation’s largest law firms in litigation and investigations arising from the collapse of Enron Corporation, obtaining dismissal of securities class actions and successful resolution of other matters.