Former Munger, Tolles & Olson partner Michelle T. Friedland was sworn in on June 13, 2014 as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Friedland is the 17th woman and the 100th judge to sit on the Ninth Circuit bench.
During a special court session, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor administered the oath of office. The event was attended by more than 200 guests and held at the James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco. Judge Friedland had previously served as a law clerk for Justice O’Connor.
Fifteen Ninth Circuit judges participated in the session. Chief Judge Emeritus Mary M. Schroeder of Phoenix presided, while Circuit Judge Paul J. Watford of Pasadena, Calif., conducted the reading of the commission. Judge Friedland is the third former Munger Tolles partner to join the Ninth Circuit, along with Judge Watford and Judge John B. Owens, who was also in attendance.
Speakers during the ceremony included Munger Tolles attorneys Jerome C. Roth, Bradley S. Phillips, and Michael J. Mongan; Carolyn Frantz, a fellow law clerk during Judge Friedland’s clerkships with both Justice O’Connor and Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; and Charles Robinson, General Counsel and Vice President of the University of California.
Following administration of the oath, Judge Friedland acknowledged her colleagues, supporters, and good fortune. “There are many other people who would have been qualified to fill this seat. The fact that it is being given to me is the result of a huge amount of good luck and the tireless support of so many good people in this room,” Judge Friedland said, according to a press release on the investiture issued by the Court.
Judge Friedland was confirmed to the Ninth Circuit on April 28, 2014 by the U.S. Senate. She was nominated to the Ninth Circuit by President Obama in August 2013. She ranks fourth among the youngest appointees to the Ninth Circuit bench.
“With the confirmation of Judge Friedland, the Ninth Circuit bench expanded to 29 judges for the first time in its history,” the Court reported in its press release.
Judge Friedland was a Munger Tolles partner whose practice focused on representing a number of corporate clients in cases involving a wide range of legal issues, including antitrust, tax, patent, copyright, and consumer class actions. She frequently represented the University of California in cases involving constitutional issues. Before joining Munger Tolles in 2004, she completed a two-year lectureship at Stanford Law School.
She received a bachelor of science degree in ecology and population biology in 1995 from Stanford University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. Judge Friedland then studied philosophy at Oxford University as a Fulbright scholar, returning to California for law school. She graduated Order of the Coif and second in her class from Stanford Law School in 2000.