April 6, 2022

In Memoriam: Anjan Choudhury (1979-2022)

With immense sadness, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP announces the death of Anjan Choudhury, our cherished friend, partner, mentor and colleague. Mr. Choudhury passed away on April 3, 2022 from a heart attack.

A partner in MTO’s Los Angeles office, Mr. Choudhury led many of our relationships with entertainment clients. Major television and film studios, streaming platforms, talent agencies and a wide variety of other companies routinely turned to Mr. Choudhury for his insights and counsel regarding the most challenging legal and business issues facing the entertainment industry today. Mr. Choudhury developed a reputation as a forward thinker and was someone clients turned to for insight into the legal challenges likely to arise as the entertainment industry continues to evolve. Mr. Choudhury’s expertise included copyright, digital rights licensing for emerging platforms, artist compensation and profit participations, television and film accounting disputes, and valuing licensing exclusivity agreements. 

Mr. Choudhury was, of course, more than an advisor to his clients; he was also a fierce litigator and a leader on some of our most challenging cases in the entertainment space. Among many others, his clients included Disney, Warner Bros., A+E Studios, Netflix, Twentieth Century Fox Television, and Creative Artists Agency. Mr. Choudhury supported these and other clients in difficult legal matters and, as one client put it, excelled at “balancing the practical with the theoretical.” 

Mr. Choudhury brought that same commitment and pragmatism to championing diversity both at our firm and in the broader legal profession. He dedicated countless hours outside of his client work to opening doors, breaking down barriers and dropping down ladders for others. He was tireless in his advocacy, mentoring and promotion of attorneys and law students across the country. Inside the firm, he served as co-chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee and was actively involved in our firm’s recruiting and retention programs. His numerous and profound contributions include helping envision and bring to fruition the MTO Fellows Program, a pre-law diversity pipeline program that annually prepares 25 to 40 aspiring diverse students for admission to and success in law school. Mr. Choudhury dedicated much of his free time, including nights and weekends, to mentor and support our MTO Fellows, our associates and our partners. He had an innate ability to spot talent and had exceptional skill in investing in, managing and supporting other lawyers to ensure that they reached their full potential. 

Mr. Choudhury was a wonderful, supportive brother who loved to explore the world with his beloved sister Tanya. He was an avid fan of live music, excellent food and his dog, Blu. He shared these passions generously with his friends, his family and his colleagues, creating community and building connections at every opportunity.

Misty Sanford, an MTO partner and close friend of Mr. Choudhury, stated: “Anjan was a kind, brilliant and passionate man who worked harder than anyone else I know. He inspired everyone around him to be a better person and a better lawyer. He leaves us with a lasting legacy of talented young lawyers across the country whom he mentored and believed in and who he inspired to continue to pay it forward. The legal profession is more diverse, talented and caring because of his tireless work. He accomplished more in his too-short career than many of us can hope to achieve in a long one.”

Glenn Pomerantz, an MTO partner and close friend of Mr. Choudhury, stated: “Anjan was a superb lawyer who established himself as a leader in the entertainment industry. He was passionate about the law, his entertainment clients and the joy that they bring to the world. He was also passionate about diversifying the legal profession, and his tireless work in that area has itself brought inspiration and joy to our communities.” 

Outside the firm, Mr. Choudhury (a former debate champion himself) coached high school debate, served on several non-profit boards, was actively involved in mentoring attorneys through bar associations, and worked to advance access to justice through a commitment to pro bono matters and public service. In 2019, he was recognized with a “Volunteer Recognition Award” by Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles for his litigation work challenging the City of Los Angeles’ Countering Violent Extremism program.

Mr. Choudhury received many other accolades during his career. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association named him one of the “Best Under 40” lawyers in 2016. He was named an “Up Next” rising star in entertainment litigation in Variety’s 2015 Legal Impact Report. 

Mr. Choudhury was deeply involved in the legal community as well. He was the governance committee chair and a member of the executive committee of the board of directors for Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, as well as a member of the board of directors of the California ChangeLawyers. He was also a president and a member of the steering committee of the board of directors of the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California (SABA-SC). In 2017, Mr. Choudhury was awarded Mentor of the Year by SABA-SC. He has served on the board of governors for the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (APABA) and as a member of the executive committee of the Fulfillment Fund Leadership Council’s Board of Directors. He was also a member of the board of directors of the South Asian Bar Association Public Interest Foundation.

Early in his career, Mr. Choudhury served as a clerk to Judge Marsha S. Berzon on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Choudhury received his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as an editor and Supreme Court chair of the Harvard Law Review. He received his B.A. from George Washington University where he received Phi Beta Kappa honors.

“Anjan was a tremendous teammate. While our entire MTO family is very sad, we also feel blessed to have had Anjan as a colleague. We will miss him dearly, and his family has our deepest condolences,” said MTO Co-Managing Partners Hailyn J. Chen and Malcolm A. Heinicke.

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP will host a memorial service to honor Mr. Choudhury on Monday, May 23, 2022. You can register here by clicking this link. 

Livestream from Anjan's Celebration of Life will be available at the time of the event on this channel. No RSVP is required for the livestream.

Please contact Rita Santos for more information.