From the Courtroom to a Republic Pictures Ranch

Greg Stone is one of California’s last real cowboys

Published in 2008 Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine — February 2008

Whenever his work schedule allows, Munger, Tolles & Olson partner Gregory Stone puts Los Angeles in the rearview and heads for his 8,000-acre cattle ranch in Glennville, northeast of Bakersfield. It’s a two-and-a-half-hour drive from his home in Pasadena, but the trip is something of a time warp. The ranch, which Stone operates with his younger brother, is the same one he grew up on. In fact, his mother grew up on it, too.

“I went to a three-room schoolhouse through eighth grade. It was a one-room school when my mom and grandmother went there, so it tripled in size by the time I arrived,” he says.

Stone, 55, is a world away from his ranch while working his “day job,” where he specializes in complex civil litigation. He recently won a $306 million verdict for high-tech company Rambus Inc. in a patent infringement case against Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the world’s second-largest memory chip maker.

He says he owes it all to the ranch.

“Definitely, the strongest set of life experiences for me is from the ranch,” Stone says. “Cowboys talk about the cowboy code they live by. There’s no question that there are things I’ve learned there that have become absolutes—like you finish any job that you start, the importance of being a good neighbor, and maybe above all, loyalty.”

Stone is certainly loyal. After graduating from Yale Law School in 1977, and clerking for one year for U.S. District Judge William Matthew Byrne Jr., he joined Munger, Tolles & Olson. “I started at this firm and I expect I’ll retire from this firm,” he says. “My loyalties, in order, are to my principles, my clients and then to my colleagues and this firm.”

Stone admits that the cowboy in him creeps into the courtroom every now and then. “In talking to juries and judges, I do sometimes reference the cowboy lessons that I learned while growing up. For example, I learned how to track animals from a Native American and I talk about how evidence presented in a trial must make sense in the same manner that an animal’s tracks do.”

Roy Rogers would be proud.

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