The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Global law firm Morrison & Foerster services clients across the United States, Asia and Europe; the London office was established in 1980. The firm regularly advises technology and life sciences companies, financial institutions and consumer product companies, among other clients. The firm's international reach means that it routinely handles cross-border transactions and disputes with a multi-jurisdictional element.
The star performers
Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Debt capital markets; Derivatives and structured products; Fraud: civil; Fraud: white-collar crime; IT and telecoms; M&A; upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+.
Advising UPS on the commercial terms associated with its i-Parcel service and other freight services; provided English law input on the debt financing provided to Japanese multinational telecoms company SoftBank on its high-profile £24bn acquisition of ARM Holdings plc; represented the Icelandic administrators of Landsbanki on a £30m asset recovery and High Court action against high-profile retailer Kevin Stanford; advised Police Mutual Insurance on the implementation of a flexible benefits platform; counselled not-for-profit organisation Stemettes on its commercial contracts, which included sponsorship agreements and image licences.
AIG Europe; Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Bank of Nova Scotia; Groupe Fnac; Just Eat plc; Melrose Industries plc; New Look; Novartis; SoftBank Unity; UPS.
Morrison & Foerster trainees were enticed by the prospect of being 'a part of a large international law firm' while working from a 'small office' in London. Being part of a small intake ensures that new recruits enjoy 'a lot of hands-on experience'. One respondent duly writes 'I feel like I am a necessary part of the team rather than an easily replaceable asset'. A real plus is the fact that the firm 'supports you in building your network to help develop a client base', and work highlights have included 'taking part in meetings' and 'being asked to coordinate the signing and closing of a deal'. Working hours 'can be long and unpredictable', and for one trainee this led to 'a prolonged stint of late-night finishes as two deals approached closing'. Colleagues are 'competitive' yet also 'fun and outgoing', contributing to a 'work hard, play hard' culture. One respondent speaks glowingly of their secondment to the Singapore office, which was 'an amazing opportunity to meet colleagues from across the Asian offices'. In fact, Morrison & Foerster has secured a Lex 100 Winner medal for its international secondments. There is a 'genuine lack of hierarchy' in the City office, and 'everyone, including the partners, is approachable'. There are 'lots of pro bono opportunities available', on which trainees are 'given lots of responsibility' as well as the chance to 'explore new and exciting areas of law'. If you're eager to commence a fast-paced training contract which will provide 'exposure to the biggest international clients', consider applying to Morrison & Foerster.
A day in the life of...
William Akman trainee, Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP
Departments to date: Corporate, finance, secondment to Singapore
Degree:LLB Law 2(1)
7.45am: I start the day by heading to the gym for a workout. The firm subsidises our membership and the health club is located in the basement of our building which is incredibly convenient.
8.45am: Once upstairs, I pass through the kitchen to grab a coffee and a selection of fresh fruit which the catering team supplies every morning. I then head to my desk to read the latest Quartz and FT headlines.
9.15am: With so many of our clients being based in Tokyo and on the West Coast I usually receive requests overnight, so I check my emails and make a plan for the day.
9.30am: We are currently advising a major multinational on the auction sale of one of its European businesses. Given the profitability of the target we have had several potential bidders, so I am assisting with the review and negotiation of the non-disclosure agreements.
10.30am: As part of our MoFo Academy training we've been learning how to pitch to clients in groups. Today marks the end of the training with a mock pitch competition. It's great fun and I love the fact that the firm encourages us to develop business skills as well as technical legal skills from an early stage.
12.00pm: My supervisor and I head to see our head of department for a catch-up. We regularly have informal meetings to discuss ongoing matters and hear what everybody on the team is working on. It's also a great opportunity to ask to be staffed on any incoming deals or to put myself forward for particular client meetings that I'd like to attend. We're expected to be ambassadors for the firm right from the start so the partners actively encourage us to build our professional networks by interacting with existing and prospective clients.
12.30pm: I have a call with one of the potential bidders to discuss their mark-up of our non-disclosure agreement. An associate joins me but I take the lead in negotiating the amendments with the client.
1.30pm: A few of us head down to the office courtyard for lunch. In summer, there's a selection of street food eateries outside. They change weekly which is great for variety but not so kind to one's waistline.
2.00pm: I take a break from reviewing NDAs and turn to a pro bono matter. We have been helping an organisation set up a charity so that it can formally promote its research into a rare type of cancer. My role has been to lead the matter (under partner supervision) by incorporating the entity, drafting its governing documents and completing the organisation's application to the Charity Commission. I call the client to provide them with an update and explain the recent changes that I have made to their articles of association.
4.30pm: We have a scheduled teleconference with one of our US-based clients to discuss a new matter. The client is looking to make a $112m investment into one of its subsidiaries in preparation for an acquisition that is due to take place next month. During the call, the client mentions that this particular work stream is time-sensitive and that the documents are required on an urgent basis. Following the call, my supervisor creates a tasklist and allocates a few things for me to work on immediately.
6.30pm: Having completed my key priorities for the day, I check with the other members of our team to see whether they need help with anything else. There is nothing urgent so I join our mixed netball team. It's great to let off steam on the court with other associates, trainees and even the occasional partner and we all enjoy celebrating our win afterwards.
About the firm
Address:CityPoint, One Ropemaker Street, London, EC2Y 9AW
Telephone: 020 7920 4000
Managing partners : Alistair Maughan and Jonathan Wheeler
Other offices: Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Denver, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York, Northern Virginia, Palo Alto, San Diego, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Washington DC.
Who we are: Morrison & Foerster is a leading global firm with over 1,000 lawyers in key technology and finance centres in the US, Europe and Asia. In Europe we have a team of 120 lawyers in our strategic hubs of London, Berlin and Brussels. We work alongside our colleagues in the US and Asia, drawing on cultural, jurisdictional and market knowledge to deliver the best advice and client service with a global approach.
What we do: We offer our clients a gateway to exceptional expertise, knowledge and advice for complex global matters across technology and finance markets. Dynamic technology companies, significant financial investors and financial institutions, leading consumer product companies and other market leaders come to MoFo for our expertise, knowledge, advice, commerciality, transaction support and individually tailored client service. We handle some of the world's largest cross-border transactions and resolve some of the biggest disputes across multiple jurisdictions.
What we are looking for: We're looking for people who are intellectually curious, focused and highly motivated. We want applications from students who love the law, enjoy networking and value collaboration. Diversity is deeply ingrained in MoFo's culture. We recognise that generating the best ideas requires diverse perspectives and want our future trainees to share this philosophy.
What you'll do:Our small intake means that trainees at MoFo get early responsibility. The MoFo Academy supplements this with a focused induction programme and ongoing business skills and technical legal training. This combination resulted in us being awarded the 'Best Trainer - US Firm in the City' at the LCN Awards in 2017.
Perks: 25 days' holiday; pension; medical insurance; dental insurance; group life assurance; group income protection; employee assistance progamme; Best Doctors; subsidised gym membership; childcare vouchers; season ticket loan; cycle scheme
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 4-5
Applications received pa: 350
Percentage interviewed: 12%
First year: £46,000
Second year: £50,000
Newly qualified: £90,000
Total partners: 19
What's involved:Two-stage interview process including a presentation and a case study.
When to Apply:For our Summer vacation scheme, apply by 31 December 2017.