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Pair of Stanford Alums, Munger Tolles Partners, Nominated to 9th

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

Munger, Tolles & Olson better watch your back, President Obama is continuing his raid on your partners. After an MTO partner, Paul Watford, was nominated and confirmed for the Ninth Circuit last year, President Obama doubled-down this year, nominating two more of the firm’s partners to the circuit court bench, per a press release from the White House.

Their MTO connection isn’t the only thing John B. Owens and Michelle T. Friedland have in common — they both share the Stanford pedigree. Freidland earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford University, sneaking a Fulbright scholarship to Oxford in between her Cardinal-colored degrees. Owens, on the other hand, went straight from the University of California, Berkeley to Stanford Law (a house divided as we say here in Nor Cal).

While she has Fulbright bragging rights, he does have the edge when it comes to class standing. He finished first in his class at Stanford Law in 1996. She finished a mere second in the Class of 2000.

Both also clerked for appeals courts before landing prestigious Supreme Court clerkships. Owens clerked for Judge Wallace of the Ninth Circuit before serving the great Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Friedland clerked for Judge Tatel of the D.C. Circuit, then clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Interestingly enough, despite having such similar educational backgrounds, their post-clerkship careers have differed greatly. Owens had brief stints with the Department of Justice and O'Melveny & Myers before serving for over ten years as a prosecutor in the United States Attorney's Office. He joined MTO in 2012.

Friedland, after a two-year lectureship at Stanford, joined MTO in 2004, making partner in 2010.

Interestingly enough, Owens' nomination is to a seat that has been vacant for nearly a decade, when, in late 2004, Judge Stephen Trott assumed senior status, notes Courthouse News. Friedland, if confirmed, will fill a seat that was vacated earlier this year, when Judge Raymond Fisher took senior status.

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