Munger Tolles is incredibly selective, but if you’re hired, you’ve just joined a top-notch, tight-knit firm where associates participate in major firm decisions. With strong mentorship, new associates tackle exciting work from day one. Today, Munger Tolles operates over a half-dozen practice areas, with growing strength in criminal investigations and defense, as well as appellate work. Niche practices include tax and bankruptcy.

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2021)

150 - 250


No. of Partners Named (2021)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of Summer Associates (2021)

17 total (13 2Ls; 4 1Ls)


Base Salary

All offices


No. of U.S. Offices


Vault Verdict

Getting in the door at MTO is no easy feat—the firm wants top credentials and clerkship experience. Hiring decisions require a firmwide vote and come after an intense set of interviews focusing on behavioral and substantive legal questions. You’ll be held to high standards here, but the firm is described as a truly special place to work—cultural descriptors include caring, tight-knit, and team-oriented. And transparency is the name of the game: Associates have a say in all major firm decisions. There is no billable-hours requirement, and finding work is on the free-market system, but there is more than enough of it to go around. Compensation is market, with bonuses tailored to individual performance and billables. There isn’t much of a ramp-up for new associates: Lean staffing mea...

About the Firm

Munger, Tolles & Olson is a SoCal elite, with offices in Los Angeles; San Francisco; and Washington, DC. The firm is best known for its litigation chops, and through its highly selective recruiting process, draws in a high number of clerks. 

Cali Firm with Cornhusker Friends

Munger Tolles was founded in 1962 by seven partners, including Charles Munger and Edwin Leroy Tolles. Munger departed after three years, but this proved to work in the firm’s interests. A close friend of investor Warren Buffett, Munger went on to become vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which in turn became a long-time Munger Tolles client. 

Tolles passed away in 2008, leaving Ronald L. Olson as the last name partner still in active practice at the firm. Olson, who joined in 1...

Associate Reviews

  • “MTO's culture is something special. From my first day at the firm, everyone welcomed me and made me feel like family. The firm is tight-knit: We have lunch together multiple times per week, and it isn't unusual for attorneys to attend each other's weddings, kids' soccer games, etc. The firm also takes special care to make sure that all professional staff members are recognized, appreciated and respected.  Professional staff participate in all the firm events alongside attorneys with no distinctions. I've never worked with attorneys and professionals who are so good at what they do while also being such good people.”
  • “Day to day, the atmosphere is very supportive, and everyone seems team-oriented. There are just high expectations right off the bat. Gatherings are strongly encouraged (even virtual), but work always comes first.”
  • “COVID has obviously affected this, but we routinely schedule ‘sherry sips’ and other social events. I have close relationships with several partners with whom I’ve gone on walks or had dinner during the pandemic. As firms go, this is a caring place.”
  • “It's been different over the last year as we've been working from home, but usually the firm has twice weekly all-attorney lunches, a weekly happy hour called ‘Sherry Sip,’ and lots of other opportunities to socialize with other attorneys at the firm.”

Diversity at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

"Since our founding in 1962, Munger, Tolles & Olson has been at the forefront of diversifying the legal profession, and the firm's tradition of diversity continues today. We remain a leader in recruiting, retaining, and promoting women, LGBTQ, and minority attorneys, and we consistently beat national averages in the number of diverse lawyers in our associate and partner ranks. We also work hard to foster an inclusive environment where all of our lawyers can thrive and contribute fully and authentically to all aspects of firm life. This..."

Getting Hired Here

  • “The entire letterhead votes on each new hire, from lateral partners to summer associates. The hiring process is incredibly competitive, and the firm values candidates with interesting backgrounds, experiences, and prior careers. That said, law school attended, grades, and clerkships are all incredibly important.”
  • “Intensely debated; everything is closely scrutinized. Very, very selective process—lots of interviews and sometimes lengthy articulations of the results of those interviews discussed internally. Definitely a limited number of schools that participate in OCI, though sending apps from other schools is encouraged.”
  • “MTO is extremely selective in its hiring. The firm generally looks for students in the top 5% of their class at a top law school with journal experience and a federal clerkship lined up.”
  • “The hiring process is highly rigorous. It's common for candidates to interview with well over a dozen attorneys, and all hiring decisions—from summer associates to partners—are voted on firmwide. Markers for success include not only a stellar academic record but also community citizenship and entrepreneurial spirit.”

Perks & Benefits