A CONVERSATION WITH NINTH CIRCUIT JUDGE JOHN B. OWENS
Interviewed by Christian Andreu-von Euw & Allison Westfahl Kong*
John Byron Owens is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Before becoming a judge, he was a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in Los Angeles and served as an Assistant United States Attorney, first in the Central District of California, and then in Southern District of California. As an AUSA in the Southern District, he served as Deputy Chief of the Major Fraud Section and Chief of the Criminal Division. He previously worked as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Litigation and an associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, D.C.
Judge Owens earned his B.A. from Berkeley, and his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he graduated first in his class and earned the Stanford Law Review Board of Editors Award. After law school, he clerked for Judge J. Clifford Wallace on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court.
In this interview, Judge Owens discusses his path to the Ninth Circuit, his experience transitioning from advocate to judge, his advice for oral advocates appearing before the Ninth Circuit, and the importance of professionalism and civility in the legal profession. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.