Luis Li is a trial lawyer in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson. His practice focuses on corporate crisis management, internal corporate investigations, complex business litigation, art law, international enforcement matters and white collar criminal defense. As an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, Mr. Li tried nearly 20 federal cases to verdict.
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.
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. In 2015, Mr. Li was among the attorneys recognized with a California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Award for his successful defense of Transocean.
Mr. Li’s representative white collar engagements include:
- Trial counsel in Edward C. O’Bannon v. NCAA, an antitrust case involving name, image and likeness of collegiate student athletes.
- Representing Transocean, a drilling company, in criminal and civil litigation arising from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Lead trial counsel defending James Arthur Ray 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 reports.
- Leading an internal investigation for the J. Paul Getty Trust 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.
- Representing at trial a high-level executive of a publicly traded Internet advertising company criminally charged with fraudulently inflating the company’s revenues. 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.
- Representing an officer of one of the largest sub-prime mortgage companies in the U.S. in relation to SEC and U.S. attorney investigations into the collapse of the company.
- Representing senior executives in technology companies in SEC and U.S. attorney investigations into stock options “backdating” practices.
- Representing a government contactor accused of defrauding the City of San Francisco.
- Representing a major defense contractor in connection with an investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office into alleged environmental violations.
Mr. Li also handles a wide spectrum of civil litigation matters, including the defense of a major securities class action arising out of the sub-prime mortgage industry’s collapse and the defense of a claim against a major Los Angeles area museum relating to two 16th Century paintings (panels by German painter Lucas Cranach the Elder).
Los Angeles City Attorney's Office - Chief of Criminal Branch
From 2002 - 2005, 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 9th 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 recently appointed to the board of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy by California Governor Jerry Brown. He also serves on the board of the John Thomas Dye School, is a board member of Bet Tzedek and serves as a member of 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.