This firm appears in the Who's Who Legal 100 2014
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FIRM OF THE YEAR – CALIFORNIA
At the start of 2014, Morrison & Foerster elected a sizeable class of 10 lawyers to the firm’s partnership. This follows 15 from the previous year. This year’s class consisted of five women and five men, including four litigators, four dealmakers, a patent lawyer and an environmental lawyer. This remarkable expansion is paralleled in our research, where the firm has increased its global listings by 14. In California, the firm has more listings than any other, and, as a result, it has won our award for Californian firm of the year for the second time.
|MORRISON & FOERSTER|
|Asset Recovery||3||Labour & Employment||2|
|Business Crime Defence||2||Mining||1|
|Commercial Litigation||1||Private Client||1|
|Corporate Governance||1||Project Finance||4|
|Information Technology||8||Real Estate||6|
In other news, the firm continued to successfully represent Apple in its patents suits against Samsung; in November a federal jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $290 million in damages, bringing the total damages owed by Samsung to Apple to $930 million.
|Total Listings in WWL||67||Established||1883|
|Home jurisdiction||US||Total size of firm||1,004|
|Number of partners||365||Number of offices||17|
PEOPLE AND PRACTICES
Information technology is a “vital” international practice for the firm; MoFo represents some of the world’s largest corporations and investors globally including EchoStar, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Kleiner Perkins, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Pioneer, SoftBank, SprintNextel, Thomson Electric and Time Warner. Miriam Wugmeister is a “world-renowned” specialist in privacy and data security laws. Her expertise is often called upon by the world’s largest and most complex multinational organisations to confront the most difficult US and international privacy challenges. The “brilliant” William Schwartz has represented Novell in its patent arrangement and strategic relationship with Microsoft, as well as other important clients, such as Altera, BEA Systems, DoubleClick, Panasonic, Stanford University and Toshiba. Peter McLaughlin is of counsel in the global privacy and data security practice group. His “deep knowledge” of health information privacy and data security issues is “highly valued” by his peers and clients alike. In China, Gordon Milner’s practice focuses on intellectual property, licensing, outsourcing and technology transactions. He is particularly renowned for his work on cross-border commercial technology transactions in Asia. Karin Retzer, a partner in the Brussels office, is an “outstanding” specialist in German, European and international data protection and security, especially in regards to requirements for regulatory compliance, investigations and litigation.
MoFo fields an expansive yet cohesive environmental law team for the benefit of its clients. Michèle Corash is one of the world’s leading environmental lawyers. She is revered by her clients and peers for her “exceptional” and broad range of expertise in environmental litigation and regulation, nationally and internationally. Peter Hsiao, who is head of the environment and energy group in Los Angeles and head of the green products and chemicals team, is another “world-class” lawyer. Hsiao has a unique advantage in the field as a former chemical engineer, and he is “without equal” as a trial attorney in environmental, natural resources, chemical toxic tort, and land use disputes. Robert Falk’s San Francisco practice centres on environmental, toxics, and consumer products matters. He is particularly “valued” when it comes to counselling and defending trade associations and businesses in litigation with regards to various environmental statutes in California. Also in San Francisco, Michael Jacob Steel is a “top environmental lawyer” who is held in “high esteem”. He focuses on federal and state-wide regulatory compliance issues, crisis management, dispute resolution and general environmental, health and safety laws.
The firm’s transactional work in the real estate market is also “highly valued” by its clients the world over. Thomas Fileti, who heads the Los Angeles real estate practice group, is “the heart” behind transactions involving REITs, acquisition and disposition of real estate assets, loans, and portfolios, real estate joint ventures and other equity investments. Mark Edelstein is chair of the firm’s real estate finance and distressed real estate practices. He is well regarded for his experience in real estate workouts and bankruptcies. He has spent the last four years restructuring the debt of, and enforcing litigation and bankruptcy claims against, some of the largest public and privately owned estates in the US.
Morrison & Foerster prides itself on being a pro bono leader. Over 20 years ago the firm was a leading player in the formation of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge; it was also one of the first law firms to create a full-time pro bono position. The firm has formed a special expertise in litigating for civil rights and civil liberties, improving public education for poor children, advocating for veterans, promoting international human rights, winning asylum for the persecuted, and safeguarding the environment.
With over 125 years of legal history Morrison & Foerster has enjoyed many high-profile successes, however it is not resting on its laurels, the firm continues to grow and develop. The firm has certainly not stopped expanding; last year it opened its most recent office in Singapore, and along with its commitment to internal promotions, the firm is keen to provide its clients with a truly global network manned by the brightest legal minds in the intellectual property, financial and technological sectors.
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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.