John Owens to Join Munger Tolles

John Owens, Chief of the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of California, will join Munger, Tolles & Olson’s litigation group as a partner effective January 3, 2012. Mr. Owens is leaving his post with the U.S. Department of Justice in December 2011. As Chief of the Criminal Division, he has supervised more than 100 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and all criminal investigations and prosecutions in the Southern District, one of the busiest and most productive districts in the country.

Mr. Owens has prosecuted numerous high-profile cases in both the Southern and Central Districts, focusing on white-collar criminal matters. In 2010, he successfully prosecuted Thanh Viet Cao, who was running a massive Ponzi scheme, in a jury trial. Mr. Cao received a 360-month sentence, thought to be the longest white-collar sentence in Southern District history. Also in 2010, he prosecuted investment advisor Mark Hauze, who bilked his clients out of millions of dollars and received a 108-month sentence after trial. In 2009, Mr. Owens received the prestigious Director’s Award for Superior Performance for his work on U.S. vs. Treadwell, in which the lead defendant received a 300-month sentence after a month-long trial. This year Mr. Owens received another Director’s Award for his work as criminal division chief. 

“John’s demonstrated trial and leadership skills and ability to produce results adds strength to our litigation practice,” name partner Ronald L. Olson said. “John is the latest in a long tradition of hiring highly accomplished trial and appellate attorneys at the conclusion of their government service. We are proud to have John as a partner.”

Mr. Owens has tried cases and handled appeals in jurisdictions nationwide, including as a criminal defense attorney, plaintiff’s lawyer and prosecutor. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2001, Mr. Owens was an associate with O’Melveny & Myers in Washington, D.C., where he was part of Walter Dellinger’s appellate team. In 2001, he became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles and relocated to San Diego in 2004. He was named criminal division chief in June 2010.

“I have long admired Munger Tolles and am honored to be joining one of the nation’s premier litigation practices,” Mr. Owens said. “I look forward to representing clients both inside and outside the courtroom.” 

After graduating first in his class from Stanford Law School, Mr. Owens clerked for Judge J. Clifford Wallace of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and then for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He served as executive editor of the Stanford Law Review and received the Stanford Law Review Board of Editors’ Award. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Supreme Court History, Northwestern Law Review, California Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and other publications.