Luis Li is a trial lawyer with Munger, Tolles & Olson whose practice includes complex business litigation, corporate crisis management, internal corporate investigations, art law, international enforcement matters and white collar criminal defense.
Among Mr. Li’s numerous accolades, he has been named a “Top 100” lawyer in California by the Daily Journal, “Top Litigators in Los Angeles” by the Los Angeles Business Journal, and received two California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) Awards in two years for his successful defense of Norton Simon Museum in a closely watched ownership challenge and for his role defending Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon, in litigation stemming from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mr. Li has led and played an instrumental role in numerous high-stakes trials for a range of clients. As a federal prosecutor, he tried nearly 20 cases to verdict.
Mr. Li’s white collar practice includes federal criminal jury trials, numerous internal corporate investigations, SEC proceedings, civil and administrative investigations, state attorney general matters and international criminal and civil matters.
- Plains All American Pipeline as co-lead trial counsel in a four-month criminal trial defending Plains from a 46-count indictment brought by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney and the California Attorney General stemming from the release of crude oil from a pipeline near Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County in May 2015.
- Jay Froberg, co-founder of ROAR LLC, in a successful high-stakes trial for control of the entertainment management company.
- NCAA in serving as trial counsel in a highly publicized case brought by a certified class of current and former Division I college football and men’s basketball players who asserted antitrust and intellectual property claims relating to NCAA rules that preclude student-athletes from being paid for the alleged use of their name, image and likeness.
- Transocean, a drilling company, as lead trial counsel in criminal and civil litigation arising from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After a multi-month trial, the court delivered a defense verdict finding that under the drilling contract, BP bore indemnity obligations for the millions of barrels of oil discharged from the Macondo well.
- James Arthur Ray as lead trial counsel in the Arizona manslaughter prosecution for three deaths at a sweat lodge ceremony. Mr. Ray was acquitted of reckless manslaughter. Conviction for mere negligence is currently on appeal. The trial was nationally televised and featured in press reports.
- Rhonda Byrne in a copyright suit challenging the Australian author's copyrights to “The Secret,” Simon & Schuster’s all-time best-seller.
- A high-level executive of a publicly traded Internet advertising company criminally charged with fraudulently inflating the company’s revenues at trial. Following a two-week trial in federal court, despite the testimony of two company executives who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, after two hours of deliberation, the jury acquitted the client on all charges.
- Norton Simon in successfully resolving claims to recover two paintings that were subject to Nazi-coerced sales during World War II. The victory was named among the Daily Journal’s Top Verdicts of 2016.
- The J. Paul Getty Trust as lead counsel in an internal investigation relating to its antiquities collection. The representation culminated in successful settlements with Italy and Greece, widely reported in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
- A major movie producer in obtaining dismissal of major criminal charges related to the Zaca Fire, then the second-largest wildfire in California history. Felonies were dismissed after a contested preliminary hearing when the court agreed that the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office had failed to demonstrate probably cause to support the charges.
- An officer of one of the largest sub-prime mortgage companies in the United States in relation to SEC and U.S. Attorney investigations into the collapse of the company.
- Senior executives in technology companies in SEC and U.S. Attorney investigations into stock options “backdating” practices.
- A government contactor accused of defrauding the City of San Francisco.
- A major defense contractor in connection with an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office into alleged environmental violations.
Los Angeles City Attorney's Office - Chief of Criminal Branch
Before rejoining the firm as a partner in 2005, Mr. Li served three years as chief of the criminal branch of the Los Angeles city attorney's office, where he directed one of the largest prosecutorial agencies in California.
Under Mr. Li’s supervision, the criminal branch's 270 prosecutors achieved the highest conviction rate in more than a decade. Mr. Li also implemented and directed the largest neighborhood-based prosecution program in the nation, as well as numerous other programs aimed at improving public safety in Los Angeles.
US Attorney's Office - Los Angeles
From 1995-2002, Mr. Li served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, where he concentrated on complex, large-scale racketeering and organized crime matters. From 2000-2002, Mr. Li was deputy chief of the major crimes section, responsible for overseeing the investigation and prosecution of organized crime and terrorism, including the successful prosecution of numerous violent, international criminal organizations.
As a federal prosecutor, convictions obtained by Mr. Li at trial include, among others: 24 members of the largest racketeering organization in Southern California, a professional football player who plotted to murder a federal district judge and members of a white supremacist prison gang.
Mr. Li also argued frequently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and received several special commendations, including the Director's Award from the Department of Justice for Superior Performance.
Mr. Li was appointed to the board of the Norton Simon Foundation. He previously served as a board member of the following organizations: Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the John Thomas Dye School, Bet Tzedek and the Getty Conservation Institute.
Mr. Li has taught trial advocacy and criminal procedure as an adjunct professor at the USC Gould School of Law. He has also lectured at the UCLA School of Law.
In 1997, Mr. Li reached the summit of Denali (also known as Mount McKinley). He lives in Pacific Palisades with his wife Jenny, also an attorney, and his daughter Sofia.