Munger, Tolles & Olson announced Wednesday that Malcolm Heinicke and Hailyn Chen, who started their legal careers at the firm as summer associates, have been elected co-managing partners.
As part of the leadership transition, Los Angeles litigator Brad Brian, a co-managing partner with corporate partner Sandra Seville-Jones from 2015 to 2018, will assume the newly created position of chair.
”I am very proud to be a part of this firm, thrilled to see my friends Malcolm and Hailyn elected, and personally excited to take on my new position guiding key initiatives and promoting our next generations of great lawyers,” Brian said in a statement.
Heinicke, who started in his new role March 1, is the firm’s first San Francisco-based co-managing partner. He’s a labor and employment litigator who has been with the firm since 1998. Chen, whose term in management will begin in May 1, joined the firm in Los Angeles in 2005 and focuses her practice on complex litigation and government investigations.
“Malcolm and Hailyn are immensely talented attorneys who embody the values we wish to see in all of our firm’s lawyers,” name partner Ronald Olson said in a statement. “They are firm veterans who rose quickly through the ranks by demonstrating an unparalleled understanding of their practice areas and our firm’s culture.”
The news comes after Munger Tolles reported extremely robust financial results for 2018, with revenue up 16 percent from the prior year. In addition to offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the roughly 200-lawyer firm has an office in Washington, D.C.
Heinicke said that his and Chen’s elevation to the leadership of the firm serves as an example of its commitment to developing its own talent.
“The two of us have been friends for a long time but not summer associates together. We were talking about how the ethos of the firm was to get young lawyers early, develop them and promote them,” he said.
The pair does not intend to deviate from that focus, they said, which they said they made clear during the discussions about the leadership transition.
“I would suspect that when these discussions are going on at other firms, it’s a discussion of profits, revenue maximization and lateral hiring. Here Hailyn and I made clear that our top priority would be the development of more junior lawyers,” Heinicke said. ”It was not only accepted but embraced. That is what our firm is; that is our brand.”
Chen, who will become one of the rare women of color to lead an Am Law 200 firm, added that Munger Tolles stands out from its peers because of its leverage model. The firm has close to an equal number of associates and partners.
“That requires us to give our junior lawyers very significant responsibility,” she said.
The two will each serve a three-year term, with the prospect of a second term to follow.
Heinicke comes to his new leadership role in the firm on the heels of serving as the 105th president of the Bar Association of San Francisco in 2018. He has also held roles in San Francisco government as the current chair of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the former chair of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.
Chen, meanwhile, was appointed by the California Supreme Court to the State Bar of California’s governing body, the Board of Trustees, in 2017. She also co-chairs the American Bar Association Section of Litigation’s Woman Advocate Committee.
As chair, Brian will continue his national trial practice, the firm said.
The firm recently strengthened its D.C. outpost, which opened in 2017 after the firm hired former U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrelli, when former corporate partner Brett Rodda returned after a two-and-a-half year stint as general counsel of Silver Point Capital LP. Rodda previously spent 17 years at the firm’s Los Angeles headquarters.