In 1973 those cats in San Fran approved "MoFo" as Morrison &
Foerster's official nickname, accentuating the firm's
unconventional modus operandi. Still, the firm is distinguished by
much more than its rebel epithet. MoFo complements its expertise in
IP, finance, life sciences, technology and litigation with a long
reach across the Pacific Rim and, more recently, into Europe. And
staying true to its roots in a city of peace and love, the firm's
pro bono commitment is deeply held.
Fastest Guns in the West
More than 120 years ago, Alexander Morrison and Thomas V.
O'Brien founded the firm that became today's Morrison &
Foerster. Due to the philanthropic work of Morrison's widow, the
firm's name is woven through the fabric of Bay area community life.
May Treat Morrison's early 20th century bequests, augmented by her
late husband's law firm, are responsible for libraries, lecture
series, endowed chairs at Berkeley and Stanford, scholarships and a
planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences.
It wasn't until the early 1960s that the firm ventured away from
Northern California, hopping on for the ride when one of its major
San Francisco clients, Crocker National Bank, decided to open an
L.A. office. In the second half of the 1980s the firm grew swiftly,
sprouting offices across the Bay area, and in 1987, the firm merged
with New York firm Parker Auspitz Neesemann & Delehanty. That
same year, MoFo became one of the first American law firms to
practice in Japan, unveiling a Tokyo office-a 2001 joint enterprise
with Japanese firm Ito & Mitomi made Morrison & Foerster
the largest international firm in Tokyo. MoFo was also one of the
first into China. The firm's Asian-based clients include such
household names as Hitachi, Minolta, Nikon and Toshiba.
Globally, Morrison & Foerster now numbers more than 1,000
lawyers and counts on its client list such companies as Apple, Bank
of America, Intel, Lucasfilm, Oracle, Toshiba, Hitachi, Yahoo! and
In addition to its high-tech clients, MoFo itself has been an
industry leader in adapting to new technologies and social media.
While other firms were only just beginning to take notice of
phenomena such as Facebook, MoFo sprinted ahead, publishing
articles on a wide range of developing cyberlaw issues.
Green is Gold
Sustainability is no longer a movement, it's a major market
opportunity. Morrison & Foerster's cross-discipline "green"
Cleantech practice group addresses the needs of players and
industries focusing on regulatory and technological issues relating
to climate change, energy conservation and clean technologies.
Serving alternative fuel, solar, carbon and other green-tech
companies, as well as the Fortune 500, MoFo provides project
finance, corporate, IP/patent, regulatory, land use and
environmental services. The firm also advises venture capital and
private equity firms interested in investing in alternative
IN THE NEWS
Changing the Healthcare Landscape
MoFo secured a win for Sandoz that will likely impact the future of
U.S. health care. On March 19, a federal district court issued a
decision that interpreted the Biologics Price Competition and
Innovation Act (BPCIA) that became law under the Affordable Care
Act, fully adopting Sandoz's interpretation of the BPCIA in a
dispute over the launch of a biosimilar drug that can help fight
infection in cancer patients. In recognition of MoFo's role in this
victory, The American Lawyer named the MoFo team its
Litigators of the Week.
A California appeals court issued a unanimous decision affirming a
trial victory won by MoFo in a closely watched Proposition 65
lawsuit. Prop 65 requires businesses to warn consumers about
possible exposure to any one of 800 chemicals, regardless of the
amount of actual risk or exposure. Because the case involved first
impression questions and fact patterns typical in Prop 65
litigation, the ruling will likely have a broad impact. The MoFo
team earned Litigator of the Week honors from The American
Lawyer for successfully developing and executing a strategy
that wins at trial and on appeal.
MoFo advised Global Logistic Properties (GLP) in a co-investment to
buy one of the largest logistics real estate portfolios from The
Blackstone Group. The $8.1 billion deal marks the first foray into
the United States by GLP, the leading provider of modern logistics
facilities in China, Japan, and Brazil. MoFo also recently advised
GLP on a landmark $2.5 billion investment by a consortium of
strategic partners, one of the largest-ever corporate real estate
transactions in China, and GLP's $1.4 billion portfolio
acquisitions of 34 assets in Brazil.
MoFo's Technology Transaction and Financial Services Groups teamed
up to advise Square on a collaboration with Snapchat for a new
feature called Snapcash. The feature seamlessly integrates Square's
person-to-person money transfer service into Snapchat's messaging
app. The first-of-its-kind deal drew on MoFo's technology, IP, and
regulatory bench strength.
Saying "I Do" to Marriage Equality
MoFo, together with the National Center for Lesbian Rights,
persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to lift a stay that prevented
same-sex couples in Idaho from exercising their newly recognized
right to marry. Building on the precedent established in Idaho,
MoFo went on to score an historic victory in a Montana marriage
equality case filed with the ACLU as co-counsel. The district court
granted the firm's motion for summary judgment, lifting the state's
discriminatory ban and making Montana the 35th state to permit
A cross-office team represented SoftBank, as a 32 percent owner of
Alibaba, in Alibaba's U.S. IPO-the largest IPO in history. MoFo
also represented SoftBank, a long-standing client, in the carve-out
and restructuring of Alibaba's financial services businesses in
preparation for the IPO. Throughout the year, the firm advised
SoftBank on key strategic transactions, including a partnership
with Legendary Entertainment, an investment in Snapdeal, and the
acquisition of the remaining outstanding shares of Brightstar to
complete SoftBank's $1.56 billion acquisition of the company.