Morrison Foerster

The Legal Cheek View

“Cool, techy stuff is the norm” at Morrison & Foerster where trainees work from their high-tech office the Scalpel. This shiny new office vaunts sound-proof rooms kitted out with standing desks and “fantastic” views of Tower Bridge is, like many US firms, home to a handful of lucky trainees who get access to MoFo’s top tech clients.

With its headquarters in Silicon Valley, MoFo’s clients include some pretty big names in the tech space. Rookies are known to cut their teeth on “great work” for some of the biggest US and Japanese companies in the world, lots of household names and brands such as Softbank and Toshiba. “You are given responsibility as soon as you can handle it which means the tasks quickly become more exciting,” says one. In addition to the more stimulating work, trainees will be doing tasks that involve ensuring a deal runs smoothly which can involve doing mundane tasks from time to time.

Accordingly, the firm’s training is “good” whilst being on the more hands-on end of the spectrum. One spy shares their view: “If there is more billable work then the departments are less concerned with providing high level training. However, that’s not to say that people are not invested in trainee development and it goes without saying that even highly busy departments are grateful and aware when they should be attending to the needs and health of trainees”. MoFo is also thought to have recently hired several learning & development professionals to help improve the training further.

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MoFo operates a pretty lean model as law firms go. Its most recent financial results saw revenues rise 6% to $1.23 billion (£1.02 billion), whilst profit per equity partner rose to $2.46 million (£2.05 million), up 10%. Strikingly however, MoFo’s headcount dipped 2.8% over the same period. This means that small trainee intakes are pretty close: “All the trainees are very friendly. Everyone is willing to help each other and the environment feels very collegiate”. “It is a collaborative rather than a competitive environment,” summarises one insider.

But MoFo seems unusually friendly and non-hierarchical for a highly profitable US firm. “The firm is very friendly, and it is a standout feature of the firm” proudly exclaims one trainee who also lauds MoFo’s “very flat hierarchy”. Superiors are always available to chat and easy to ask questions with this principle, extending to even the most senior partners.

Expect to be worked hard though. That said, it’s not bad compared to some of its US rivals. Weekends and holidays are generally respected and the hours are not that different to what you might get at a Magic Circle firm. Pay sits at £60k and £65k for first and second year trainees respectively, with a big jump to $215,000 plus bonuses on qualification — a top-notch NQ salary for those who can make the grade.

Details about perks are pretty thin on the ground, however, there is the opportunity to do a client secondment with some of MoFo’s corporate London clients. With outposts in Berlin and Brussels, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, as well as its nice US offices, MoFo rookies seem to be spoilt for choice when it comes to international secondments too. But it is unclear how many of these take London trainees on secondment — Singapore currently appears to be the go-to destination for rookies to jet off to if they get the chance.

Insider Scorecard

Quality of work
Peer support
Partner approach-ability
Work/life balance
Legal tech

Insider Scorecard Grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2022-23 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


First year trainee salary £60,000
Second year trainee salary £65,000
Newly qualified salary £156,000
Profit per equity partner £2,050,000
GDL grant £11,000
LPC grant £12,500

The above figures are for London. Outside London, the LPC grant is £11,000. Note: The NQ salary is an approximate figure.


Average start work time 09:02
Average finish time 20:22
Annual target hours 1,950
Annual leave 25 days

Average arrive and leave times are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2022–23 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


Chances of secondment abroad 14%
Chances of client secondment 14%

Secondment probabilities are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2022–23 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK. Please note that due to COVID-19 secondment probabilities are lower than in usual years.

General Info

Training contracts 7
Latest trainee retention rate Undisclosed
Offices 18
Countries 7
Minimum A-level requirement AAB
Minimum degree requirement 2:1


UK female associates Undisclosed
UK female partners Undisclosed
UK BME associates Undisclosed
UK BME partners Undisclosed

The Firm In Its Own Words