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Staying the Course Through
with Milton Cheng, Global Chair, Baker McKenzie

Featured Articles - Issue 9

5 Things You Didn't Know: John Berry

John Berry is a partner with Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles. He is an experienced litigator with over 20 years of experience in both government and the private sector, joining Munger, Tolles & Olson in 2019 after serving as the associate regional director for the SEC’s Los Angeles office (appointed by SEC Chair Mary Jo White). Here are five things you may not know about John:

  1. Originally from the East Coast, John had childhood dreams of being a football player. “When I was young, I wanted to be middle 5Things-Berry_John-rectangle-300-x175.psdlinebacker for the Washington Football Team. Size, ability and life got in the way of that dream, but I’m still a fan.”
  2. He has an identical twin brother who is also a lawyer. “We’re old enough now that it is easier to tell us apart, but when we were younger, we were truly identical.”
  3. Even though he went to law school, John wasn’t sure that was his calling at the time. “When I went to law school (the University of Virginia), I got a dual degree (J.D./M.B.A.) because I still wasn’t sure I wanted to be a lawyer. Working at the SEC certainly sealed the deal for me—stopping people from taking advantage of others is the essence of what the law is for.”
  4. In his 20-plus year career, John has had some unique experiences in the courtroom. “I’ve worked on a lot of unusual cases in my career that took me to juries in Southern Los Angeles, cramped offices in Geneva and boardrooms in Moscow. Some of the ones that stand out for me are when I deposed a defendant who took pills to make himself sick to avoid having to testify; when a defendant left the country and allegedly died in the South Pacific on a boat filled with gold bars; when a client allegedly faked his own shooting in a family dispute over a large estate; or when I realized, in a deposition in the middle of a trial, that the other party’s expert witness had made the most simple of addition errors rendering his client’s billion-dollar bankruptcy case moot.”
  5. Even after all these years, John learns something new every day. “The surprising but fun part of my job is that no matter how long I’ve been doing this, I learn something new all the time. When that stops happening, it’s time to retire."

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