Laura D. Smolowe is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson and co-leads the Trade Secret and Employee Mobility Practice Group.
Her practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and trials in federal and state court, as well as counseling clients through their most difficult and thorny issues. Ms. Smolowe has represented Fortune 500 companies as lead counsel, and her successful trial verdicts have twice been named by the Daily Journal as “Top Defense Verdicts” of that year.
Ms. Smolowe has particular expertise in the area of trade secrets and employee mobility across a wide array of industries, including technology, entertainment, fashion, retail, finance and pharmaceuticals. She publishes regularly in this area and co-authored the chapter on trade secrets and restrictive covenants in the 2016-2017 editions of the California Business Litigation handbook. In 2017, Ms. Smolowe was recognized among the Most Influential Intellectual Property Lawyers by the Los Angeles Business Journal. In 2019-20, she was selected as a Southern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers.Ms. Smolowe has a special interest in constitutional law and has litigated multiple constitutional issues, including section 1983 and state and federal habeas cases involving, among other issues, due process and the First, Sixth and Eighth Amendments.
Ms. Smolowe maintains an active pro bono docket, where she focuses on civil rights cases. As a key example, she has partnered with the ACLU of Southern California to bring two groundbreaking federal class actions challenging police and prosecutorial enforcement of gang injunctions in Orange County and Los Angeles. These lawsuits have resulted, in the first case, in a precedent-setting Ninth Circuit opinion holding that the enforcement violated due process, and in the second case, a class-wide preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of most gang injunctions in Los Angeles. For this work, Ms. Smolowe was a 2018 recipient of the ACLU’s Equal Justice Award and a 2011 recipient of the ACLU’s Courageous Advocacy Award.
Ms. Smolowe is a national co-chair of the American Bar Association's Judicial Intern Opportunity Program. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, one of the nation’s most prestigious and elite professional choirs, which performs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Ms. Smolowe served on the boards of the anti-poverty non-profit LIFT-LA from 2012-2020, andfrom 2011-2014, she served on the California State Bar's Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, to which she was appointed by the State Bar’s Board of Trustees.
Ms. Smolowe received her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was a senior editor of the Yale Law and Policy Review, was the director of the Green Haven Prison Project and served on the boards of Yale Law Women and the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, Yale's clinical arm. A graduate of Yale University (magna cum laude, with distinction in history), Ms. Smolowe was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta Honor Societies and was awarded the 2002 Lily Rosen Prize for her senior thesis on women’s health in Australia.
Ms. Smolowe joined the firm after clerkships with the Honorable Richard A. Paez on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Dean D. Pregerson on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.