Maria Jhai is a litigator with Munger, Tolles & Olson whose practice is focused on complex civil litigation, with a particular emphasis on class actions and trial work.
Ms. Jhai has litigated cases at all stages, from pre-trial to verdict. She has first-chaired an arbitration, conducted cross and direct examination, briefed and argued dispositive motions, taken and defended depositions, led discovery efforts, and prepared experts for deposition and examination at trial. She has tried multiple jury trials to guilty verdicts as a volunteer prosecutor.
- Philip Morris USA in a consumer class action relating to the marketing of “light” cigarettes. Trial took place in October and November 2015.
- A meal delivery service in securing a favorable settlement in a putative class action under California’s Automatic Renewal Law.
- A major retailer in securing a favorable settlement in a putative class action under the New Jersey Truth in Consumer Contract Warranty and Notice Act.
- A motion picture studio in a profit participation matter in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Ms. Jhai speaks regularly on various litigation topics. In 2017, she presented “Updates In Class Action Food Litigation” for the State Bar of California. In 2016, Ms. Jhai led a roundtable discussion at the FoodVision USA conference titled “Legal Pitfalls and Opportunities in On-line Subscription-Based Sales.” Ms. Jhai co-authored the article “Planning, drafting and executing cross-examinations” in the Daily Journal in February 2018. She also co-authored the article “Food Law” in the 2016 edition of California Litigation Review, summarizing key and interesting cases in food law from 2016.
Ms. Jhai continuously pursues a deeper knowledge of industry issues. She has participated in courses on specialty food business and marketing hosted by the Specialty Food Association. She also has attended a number of conferences addressing food law and regulation, including most recently the American Conference Institute’s Food Law and Regulation Bootcamp.
Ms. Jhai also maintains an active pro bono practice. She co-authored an amicus curiae brief in a case addressing the Confrontation Clause before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ms. Jhai has also represented clients in immigration proceedings, and in a wage-and-hour matter before the Labor Commissioner, where she secured a complete recovery for her client.
Ms. Jhai is a member of the Litigation Section of the California State Bar, and a member of that section’s Standing Committee on Food Law. She is also a member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.
Before joining the firm, Ms. Jhai clerked for Judge Helene N. White of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Judge Stephen J. Murphy III of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Ms. Jhai received her law degree magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. As a student attorney in the law school’s Innocence Clinic, Ms. Jhai uncovered evidence that led to the exoneration of her client after nine years in prison, and submitted briefs at all levels of the Michigan court system. Ms. Jhai received the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society Law Student Prize for excellence in legal history, as well as the Ralph M. Freeman Prize, a faculty-nominated award for excellence in criminal law and procedure.
Before entering law school, Ms. Jhai worked as a courtroom clerk in Arizona Superior Court and interned for U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva. Ms. Jhai earned her B.A. in anthropology, summa cum laude, from the University of Arizona.