Morrison & Foerster LLP at a Glance


  • “The culture is so open and collegial”
  • “Exciting and interesting projects”
  • “Great clients”


  • “Long hours”
  • “Partnership does not seem realistic”
  • “Work allocation”

About Morrison & Foerster LLP

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 firms in China. The firm's Asia-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 AIG, Autodesk, Bank of America, Fujitsu, Global Logistics Properties, Mitsui, Nikon, Novartis, SoftBank, Toshiba, Yahoo!, and UPS.

Socially Accelerated

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" Clean Tech + Renewable Energy 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 technologies.


April 2017
The Future is Female

"Focus on the Future - Empowering Female Leaders" was the theme of the 2017 MoFo Summit for Women In-House Counsel, held on April 20 in Half Moon Bay, California. More than 230 women lawyers, including 100 general counsel and assistant general counsel, attended the day-long program of CLE presentations and professional development workshops, which included an interactive session led by SpeechSkills' Cara Hale Alter on projecting confidence and building leadership presence. Over 550 women lawyers have participated in the Summit since its inception in 2012.

January 2017
Welcome to Parenthood

MoFo rolled out a new gender-neutral parent leave policy that is among the most generous in the legal industry. The new policy allows primary caregivers to take up to 20 weeks of paid leave and 5 weeks of unpaid leave following the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. Secondary caregivers may take up to six weeks of paid and six weeks of unpaid parental leave.

December 2016
Very Hungry Caterpillar

MoFo is helping Caterpillar become a digital business through policy, procedure, and regulatory reviews, as well as through a reevaluation of its strategies to engage customers and deliver connected products. Just as the Internet of Things has redefined how businesses operate, MoFo lawyers are similarly defining new areas of the law, such as IoT, autonomous vehicles, impact investing, and blockchain and smart contracts. Such forward-looking thinking is among the reasons that the Financial Times ranked MoFo as one of the 10 most innovative law firms in the 2016 FT North America Innovative Lawyers Report.

November 2016
Detainment or Punishment?

MoFo lawyers devoted more than 7,000 pro bono hours in the fight to enforce the rights of immigrants detained in Border Patrol stations near Tuscon, Arizona. A 2015 lawsuit alleged that the Border Patrol subjects detainees to mistreatment, abuse, and neglect. Specific allegations included deprivations of beds, bedding, and sleep; adequate food and water; medical screenings; and basic sanitation and hygiene items. In June 2016, a federal district court unsealed shocking video stills of conditions inside holding cells. That November, a judge ordered the Board Patrol to begin providing basic amenities to detainees. The ruling impacted 30,000-40,000 individuals.

July 2016
$31.4 Billion in Cash

Despite a turbulent global political and economic environment that made for an unpredictable market, MoFo's M&A team successfully navigated these challenges and advised clients on some of their most complex domestic and international transactions. In July, MoFo represented SoftBank in the $31.4 billion acquisition of chipmaker ARM Holdings, the largest outbound acquisition from Japan and the largest ever cash investment from Asia into the UK. The transaction was also the biggest announced public M&A deal in the UK in 2016; the largest all-cash deal in UK history, and the first large-scale M&A deal to be announced post-Brexit vote.

April 2016
Women of Influence

The San Francisco Business Times recognized San Francisco partner Tessa Schwartz as one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business, and for good reason. In January, Schwartz was appointed a firmwide managing partner with global responsibilities. "In addition to being an outstanding lawyer, Tessa has a sharp strategic vision and proven leadership skills," noted firm chair Larren Nashelsky. Schwartz is one of several women lawyers who hold top leadership positions at the firm. Twenty-two women lead departments, practice groups, and firmwide committees. In addition, women represent nearly half of the firm's board of directors.

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Morrison & Foerster LLP

425 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (415) 268-7000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Larren M. Nashelsky
  • Hiring Partner: Craig Martin
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 1,022

  • Base Salary
    All U.S. offices and U.S. practice attorneys in international offices
    1st year: $180,000
    2nd year: $190,000
    3rd year: $210,000
    4th year: $235,000
    5th year: $260,000
    6th year: $280,000
    7th year: $300,000
    8th year: $315,000
    9th year: $325,000
    Summer Associates: $3462/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    82 out of 83 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Antitrust • Appellate • Business Restructuring & Insolvency • Capital Markets • Clean Tech & Alternative Energy • Commercial Litigation • Compensation Benefits & ERISA • Consumer Class Action • Corporate Finance • Employment & Labor • Emerging Companies & Venture Capital• Environment & Energy • Financial Services Litigation • Federal Tax • Finance & Projects • Financial Services • Fund Formation & Operations • Government Contracts • Intellectual Property • Investment Management • Life Sciences • Mergers & Acquisitions • Patent • Privacy & Data Security • Private Equity • Real Estate • Securities Litigation • State & Local Tax • Technology Transactions • White-Collar Defense

Major Office Locations

  • Denver, CO • Los Angeles, CA • New York, NY • Northern Virginia • Palo Alto, CA • San Diego, CA • San Francisco, CA • Washington, DC Beijing • Berlin • Brussels • Hong Kong • London • Shanghai • Singapore • Tokyo