Munger, Tolles & Olson corporate partner Jay M. Fujitani passed away on July 17, 2016 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 56.
Known for his brilliant legal mind, calm demeanor and kindness towards others, Mr. Fujitani was highly respected by clients and colleagues alike. He focused his practice on representing clients in mergers and acquisitions and other complex business transactions, corporate governance matters and regulatory compliance. He was also a mentor to many lawyers and a dedicated leader in the firm.
In an obituary published by the Daily Journal, Ronald L. Olson, the firm’s name partner, described Mr. Fujitani as “an outstanding lawyer, serving his clients with an extraordinary and creative mind and an uncompromising commitment to their best interests.”
Mr. Fujitani’s clients included Southern California Edison, which he represented since the 1990s. Retired executive vice president and general counsel at Edison International and former Munger Tolles partner Robert L. Adler told the Daily Journal, “Jay was a terrific lawyer and the most honest and decent of men. He loved helping other people, and his good cheer and sweetness attracted their friendship back.”
In his pro bono work, Mr. Fujitani fought for equality and justice. He was a member of the legal team that represented gay and lesbian couples and Equality California in their California Supreme Court petition challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which sought to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. His team’s work was recognized by such organizations as the National Center for Lesbian Rights and ACLU of Southern California.
Part of the fabric of the firm, Mr. Fujitani chaired or served on virtually every Munger Tolles committee. As co-chair of Munger Tolles’ diversity committee, he helped shape many of the firm’s diversity programs and was integrally involved in the firm’s 1L diversity program. Mr. Fujitani was a mentor to many lawyers over the years, speaking frequently at law schools about strategies for success as a diverse attorney at a big law firm. He was also a supporter of For People of Color, Inc. and a member of the California Minority Counsel Program.
A Hawaii native, Mr. Fujitani received his J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law (1984), having previously earned a B.A. from UCLA. He served as a law clerk to Judge Stanley J. Weigel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (1984-85) and Justice William J. Brennan of the U.S. Supreme Court (1985-86). He became a partner at Munger Tolles in 1992.
Mr. Fujitani is survived by his husband Paul O’Reilly, his mother Constance, brother Riki and sister-in-law Mallory, as well as his nephews, McKenna and Cade, and his niece Emma.