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Morrison & Foerster

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Morrison & Foerster LLP
Headquarters425 Market Street
San Francisco
No. of offices17 (2019)[1]
No. of attorneys750 - 1000 (2019)[1]
Major practice areasMergers and acquisitions, litigation and arbitration, corporate finance, corporate restructuring, securities, banking, project finance, energy and infrastructure, antitrust, tax, intellectual property, life sciences
Key peopleEric McCrath (Chair)
Revenue$1.15 billion (2020)[2]
Profit per equity partner$2.05 million (2020)[2]
Date founded1883
FounderAlexander Morrison
Company typeLimited liability partnership

Morrison & Foerster LLP (also known as MoFo) is an American multinational law firm headquartered in San Francisco, California, with 17 offices located throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe.


Alexander Francis Morrison

In 1883, Alexander Francis Morrison (1856–1921), an alumnus of the University of California, Berkeley, and Hastings College of the Law, founded the firm's oldest ancestor in San Francisco under the name O’Brien & Morrison.[3] His aim was to practice "principally in the line of corporation business."[4]

In 1891, Morrison formed a partnership with Constantine E.A. Foerster (1860–1898).[3] However, Foerster died in 1898 at age 37 from tuberculosis.[5] After his death, other attorneys came in as partners and the firm's name changed several times over the next two decades.

By late 1924, the firm of Morrison, Dunne & Brobeck had seven partners and eight associates.[6] On November 29, 1924, everyone arrived at work to find on their desks a letter signed by partners Herman Phleger, William I. Brobeck and Peter F. Dunne which announced the "reorganization" of the firm.[6] By "reorganization" they actually meant dissolution of the firm, effective December 31, 1924.[7] Morrison's widow May was furious at the three men for wrecking the firm which she regarded as her late husband's legacy and prohibited them from using the Morrison name.[8]

A 1996 history of the Brobeck firm claimed that Phleger had persuaded Brobeck and Dunne that the law firm would be more profitable if they ejected the four other partners, so the three of them suddenly fired and locked out the four other partners, who then had to break into the office with a fire axe to retrieve their files.[8] However, this story may be apocryphal because the Morrison firm's files include documents showing that the attorneys had attempted to provide for the "orderly dissolution of the old firm", the transfer of its files, and the settlement of fees for pending matters.[9]

The firm's attorneys organized two new law firms which began operations in January 1925: Dunne, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison (later renamed Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison) and Morrison, Hohfeld, Foerster, Shuman & Clark.[8] The "Foerster" of the latter firm was not the late Constantine E.A. Foerster, but his son Roland, who had joined the Morrison firm as an associate in 1916.[10] May Morrison was affectionate towards the four founding partners of the latter firm and actively assisted them in creating a new firm to carry forward the legacy of the old one.[11] They were the "favorites" of her late husband Alexander, whom she called "Aleck", and she thus referred to them as "Aleck's Boys".[11]

Starting in the 1920s and 1930s, the firm developed a deep client roster, which brought stability to sustain the firm over the next three decades.[12]

In the 1960s, a group of young partners—John Austin, Dick Archer, and Bob Raven—set out to reinvigorate the firm in response to stagnant revenue and changes in the business and social environment.[13] The strategy, resulting from the so-called "Schroeder's meetings" because they were held at the San Francisco restaurant, included ideas for modernizing the practice of law.[13] The partners replaced outmoded policies and insisted on budgets and operational plans. The firm started to recruit at law schools and began hiring women lawyers. In time, the firm rebuilt its litigation practice by training new associates on small bank cases.[14]

In 1974, the firm expanded outside San Francisco and opened an office in Los Angeles to better meet the needs of longtime client Crocker National Bank.[4]

Soon after, the firm expanded again, opening an office in Washington, D.C. in 1979 and its first non-U.S. office in London in 1980.[15]

In 1987, the firm merged with New York-based litigation company Parker Auspitz and opened its Tokyo office.[16]

The firm merged again in 1991, this time with Ciotti & Murashige.[17] A decade later, Morrison & Foerster became one of the largest international law firms in Tokyo when it merged with Ito & Mitomi.[18]

In 2003, Morrison & Foerster received their first 100% rating on HRC's Corporate Equality Index indicating they met all 7 of that year's criteria for having a positive record "toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors".[19]

In November 2013, the firm expanded its European presence by opening an office in Berlin.[20] The following month, the German team advised Axel Springer, one of Europe's largest media companies, on its acquisition of N24 Media, Germany's largest independent producers of information.[21][22]

In 2022, Morrison & Foerster was a founding member of the Legal Alliance for Reproductive Rights, a coalition of United States law firms offering free legal services to people seeking and providing abortions in the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overruled Roe v. Wade.[23]


The firm was the lead bankruptcy counsel to Residential Capital. ResCap.[24] and secured their chapter 11 plan.[25]

In July 2013, Morrison & Foerster represented SoftBank in its $21.6 billion acquisition of a 78 percent stake in Sprint Nextel.[26] According to The Wall Street Journal, the transaction was "one of the most complex and unusual deals in the annals of takeovers."[27] The firm also represented SoftBank in Alibaba's U.S. IPO—the largest IPO in history.[28]

Morrison & Foerster Foundation[edit]

Formed in 1986, the Morrison & Foerster Foundation is a charitable foundation funded mainly by the firm's partners.[29] In total, the Foundation has donated $44 million to nonprofit organizations since its inception.[30]

In 2015, Law360 recognized Morrison & Foerster as one of the 10 Most Charitable Law Firms.[30]


Office Managing Partner(s) Year Founded
Austin Bradley D. Wine 2022
Beijing Chuan Sun 1998
Berlin Dirk Besse, Andreas Grünwald 2013
Boston David Ephraim 2019
Brussels Alex van der Wolk 1991
Denver Erik Knudsen 1979
Hong Kong Timothy Blakely 1983
London Andrew Boyd, Annabel Gillham 1980
Los Angeles Purvi Patel 1974
New York Jamie Levitt 1987
Northern Virginia Charles Katz 2000
Palo Alto Timothy Harris 1985
San Diego Julie Park 1999
San Francisco Caitlin Blythe 1883
Shanghai Chuan Sun 2003
Singapore Shirin Tang 2013
Tokyo Kenneth Siegel 1987
Washington, D.C. Joseph Palmore 1979

Noted professionals[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Morrison & Foerster LLP|Company Profile|Vault.com". Vault. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "MoFo unveils 10 percent increase in revenue as PEP breaks the $2m benchmark". www.globallegalpost.com. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b O’Hara, Eileen, et al. (2006). Morrison & Foerster LLP: The Evolution of a Law Firm. RR Donnelly. pp. 5
  4. ^ a b McAfee, David (July 21, 2014). California Powerhouse: Morrison & Foerster. Law360. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
  5. ^ O'Hara, Eileen (2006). Morrison & Foerster LLP: The Evolution of a Law Firm. RR Donnelley. p. 11.
  6. ^ a b O'Hara, Eileen (2006). Morrison & Foerster LLP: The Evolution of a Law Firm. RR Donnelley. p. 28.
  7. ^ O'Hara, Eileen (2006). Morrison & Foerster LLP: The Evolution of a Law Firm. RR Donnelley. p. 47.
  8. ^ a b c O'Hara, Eileen (2006). Morrison & Foerster LLP: The Evolution of a Law Firm. RR Donnelley. p. 30.
  9. ^ O'Hara, Eileen (2006). Morrison & Foerster LLP: The Evolution of a Law Firm. RR Donnelley. p. 31.
  10. ^ O'Hara, Eileen (2006). Morrison & Foerster LLP: The Evolution of a Law Firm. RR Donnelley. p. 46.
  11. ^ a b O'Hara, Eileen (2006). Morrison & Foerster LLP: The Evolution of a Law Firm. RR Donnelley. p. 46.
  12. ^ O’Hara, Eileen, et al. (2006). Morrison & Foerster LLP: The Evolution of a Law Firm. RR Donnelly. pp. 71
  13. ^ a b O’Hara, Eileen, et al. (2006). Morrison & Foerster LLP: The Evolution of a Law Firm. RR Donnelly. pp. 77
  14. ^ O'Hara, Eileen, et al. (2006). Morrison & Foerster LLP: The Evolution of a Law Firm. RR Donnelly. pp. 79
  15. ^ Moore, Tom (July 9, 2014). Morrison & Foerster Appoints Paul Friedman to Newly Created European Managing Partner Role. Legal Business. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  16. ^ Sandburg, Brenda (March 3, 2006). [1]. The American Lawyer. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  17. ^ Somers, Terri. (September 4, 2007). Chemist in her element in biotech patent law. San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  18. ^ Smith, Heather (December 4, 2003). Made in Japan. The American Lawyer. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  19. ^ Human Rights Campaign (2003). 2003 Corporate Equality Index. Page 25. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  20. ^ Smith, Jennifer (September 24, 2015). Willkommen in Deutschland: Morrison & Foerster Opens in Berlin. Wall Street Journal Law Blog. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  21. ^ Bulkeley, Andrew (December 11, 2013).Morrison & Foerster snares Springer mandate for N24 purchase Archived 2015-11-22 at the Wayback Machine. The Deal. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  22. ^ Juve (December 10, 2013). Buying N24: Springer brought Morrison & Foerster first German prestige mandate. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  23. ^ Lancaster, Alaina (June 1, 2022). "20 Law Firms Offer Pro Bono Legal Services to Defend Abortion Rights". Law.com. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  24. ^ Chutchian, Maria (December 11, 2013). ResCap Ends Bankruptcy As Judge Confirms Liquidation Plan. Law360. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  25. ^ Checkler, Joseph (December 11, 2013). Bankruptcy Judge Confirms ResCap Liquidation Plan. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  26. ^ Bulkeley, Andrew (October 15, 2013). "Softbank forges Sprint takeover deal." Archived 2015-11-22 at the Wayback Machine The Deal. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  27. ^ MoFo Advises SoftBank in Landmark Sprint Nextel Acquisition. (Press Release). July 11, 2013. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  28. ^ MoFo Advises SoftBank on Alibaba's IPO. (Press Release). San Francisco, California: Morrison & Foerster LLP. September 19, 2014. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  29. ^ MoFo Foundation Morrison & Foerster. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  30. ^ a b Maleske, Melissa (September 29, 2015). The 10 Most Charitable Law Firms. Law360. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  31. ^ Stephen A. Crockett Jr. (February 11, 2019). "Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax's Law Firm Places Him on Leave, 4 Staffers Resign Following 2nd Sexual Assault Allegation". The Root. Retrieved February 12, 2019. Morrison & Foerster, the law firm where Fairfax was named partner last September

External links[edit]