Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Morrison and Foerster LLP
The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Morrison and Foerster LLP
Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘Everyone is super friendly and approachable’; ‘the type of work on offer and the firm’s reputation’; ‘the flexibility of the training contract’; ‘I was really impressed by the culture, which I was able to judge for myself on the vacation scheme’; ‘everyone I met was very intelligent, friendly and supportive’
Best thing about the firm? ‘Being supported in an inclusive and friendly culture’; ‘the small team sizes’; ‘the responsibility you are given early on’; ‘the people are friendly and generally have time to talk and help’; ‘the flexibility in trying to accommodate any reasoned and thoughtful requests. For example, I was allowed to stay on a particular deal despite moving seats’
Worst thing about the firm? ‘The IT system’; ‘working to NY/Japan hours’; ‘the hours’; ‘lack of opportunity to actually deal with clients’; ‘things can get rescheduled a fair bit’; ‘the lack of pre-determined guidance on the selection criteria for secondments’
Best moment? ‘Attending a client training session with the head of the life sciences group from the US, and hearing how impressed that partner had been’; ‘drafting an amendment agreement from scratch in my first seat’; ‘a day in the Court of Appeal’
Worst moment? ‘Work coming in past midnight’; ‘the mistakes I made at the very start’; ‘having to pull two all-nighters in a week interposed with consistent late finishes’; ‘having to deal with an issue in the office when everyone else had left!’
The Lex 100 verdict on Morrison and Foerster LLP
The firm: “Morrison and 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 around 120 lawyers in our strategic hubs of London, Berlin and Brussels.”
The deals: Represented SoftBank Group Corp., as part of a global deal team, in connection with investments totalling $6 billion into WeWork Companies Inc.; advised Global Logistic Properties Limited (now GLP Pte. Ltd.), in connection with the formation of two new European funds which increased the size of GLP’s fund management platform by US$4 billion (€3.4 billion) to US$43 billion; advised on multiple corruption- and fraud-related investigations throughout EMEA, and globally, including numerous Serious Fraud Office investigations; successfully represented a senior creditor in the Lehman Brothers International Europe Waterfall litigation, ultimately securing a favourable solution for our client with the English court’s sanctioning of an innovative Scheme of Arrangement; advised Vector Capital, a global private equity firm, as part of a global deal team, in its agreement to provide a $100 million second lien term loan to support Permira Funds’ acquisition of Synamedia from Cisco.
The clients: GLP Pte. Ltd, OXX Limited, Panasonic, Senior creditor in the Lehman Brothers International Europe Waterfall litigation, SoftBank Group Corp, Sonora Mills Foods Inc./Popchips Inc., UPS, Vector Capital, Visa, Vonage Holdings Corp.
The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) 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: white-collar crime; IT and telecoms; M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+; Private funds; Regulatory investigations and corporate crime
Morrison & Foerster is ‘a leader in life sciences dealing with international work’. The US firm recruits a small trainee intake which appealed to applicants as it offers higher levels of responsibility and flexibility. The ‘technology focus and link to Japan’ attracted new recruits, as well as the ‘culture of the firm which was impressive’. Compared to some firms, Morrison & Foerster offers ‘a greater level of involvement in work and contact with senior colleagues’, which makes the ‘high quality of work more personal’. Trainees were unanimously drawn to the ‘the inclusive and friendly culture’ at the firm which makes them feel supported throughout their training contract. As expected, many respondents didn’t appreciate long hours, in particular ‘working until 4.30am following two days of staying till 3am’. The limited ‘real seat-specific training’ was also a concern, meaning new recruits had to ‘learn everything on their own’. However, many trainees’ work highlights related to moments where they held positions of responsibility. These included ‘advocacy at a tribunal’ and ‘dealing with advice on a pro-bono matter with little need for supervision’. Moreover, one trainee relished the opportunity to ‘be part of a successful completion’ and was grateful to be ‘a valued member of the team’. Morrison & Foerster is a Lex 100 Winner for social life, salary, approachability, inclusiveness and vacation scheme. The firm also ‘actively encourages’ trainees to take on ‘broad and interesting pro bono opportunities’ which respondents found particularly rewarding. If this, combined with ‘high contact with supervisors and partners’, sounds appealing, apply to Morrison & Foerster.
A day in the life of… Jai Mudhar, trainee, Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP
Departments to date: Business restructuring and insolvency, funds and corporate
University: University of Kent; University College London; University of Law Moorgate
Degree: Biology BSc (1st); Neuroscience, MSc (Merit); GDL and LPC (Distinction)
8.45am: I arrive at the office and work through the emails that arrived overnight from my Hong Kong colleagues. The London and Hong Kong offices are working together on a due diligence report in relation to entities a client is looking to acquire in both jurisdictions. The international aspects of our work enable us, even as trainees, to connect and collaborate with colleagues across the MoFo network.
9.00am: We have a MoFo Academy session on European leveraged finance structures. MoFo provide us with regular training on legal topics to support our continued development. Our finance practice has grown significantly in recent months, creating a number of new opportunities for trainees.
10.00am: I update the due diligence report. A colleague asks me to assist with the drafting of resolutions in relation to an investment transaction. An investor wishes to make an additional investment in our client’s company. It is my responsibility to draft the resolutions approving the investment, which will be sent to our client this morning.
12.30pm: My mentor and I arranged to meet for a catch-up lunch, so we head out to eat at a restaurant nearby. As an additional layer of support, MoFo assigns each trainee a mentor at the start of their training contract – it is great to have the extra guidance and advice.
1.30pm: On my return from lunch, I turn my attention to some ongoing pro bono work. We are working on a complex and unusual funding arrangement. I have been asked to prepare the first draft of the funding agreement – a task, which, while seemingly challenging, is a welcome opportunity to practice some free-hand drafting. There is a great degree of emphasis on pro bono work at MoFo and it is an excellent opportunity, especially as a trainee, to gain exposure to wide-ranging work.
3.45pm: One of the partners has asked me, directly, to assist on a corporate restructuring. We spend some time discussing the background of the matter and the role of each transaction document. My task is to analyse the key documents and create a central issues list, identifying areas of potential concern for our client and proposing action they could take to mitigate risk. The partners are keen to invest in your learning and are happy to answer any questions you may have. It is experiences like this that make you feel like a valued member of the team and make training at MoFo unique.
7.30pm: I check in with other members of the team to see if I can assist with any other work this evening. After preparing a to-do list for tomorrow, I get ready to leave for the day. We have our summer vacation scheme happening currently, and so tonight, I am off to an evening event with our summer associates and other MoFo attorneys to ride up and down the River Thames on a speedboat; thankfully we are having dinner after the event not before!
About the firm
Managing partners: London: Alistair Maughan and Jonathan Wheeler; Europe: Paul Friedman
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 and 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 140 lawyers in our strategic hubs of London, Berlin and Brussels. We are serious about the work we do for our clients, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
What we do: We handle some of the world’s largest cross-border transactions and resolve some of the biggest disputes across multiple jurisdictions.
What we’re looking for: Individuals with a strong interest in the technology and finance sectors, who want significant responsibility at an early stage in their career and exposure to complex global transactions and major disputes.
What you’ll do: A focused trainee induction programme; significant responsibility on complex global matters and ongoing training through the MoFo Academy.
Perks: 25 days’ holiday; pension; medical insurance; individual health plans; dental insurance; group life assurance; group income protection; employee assistance programme; Best Doctors; subsidised gym membership; childcare vouchers; My Family Care Benefit; season ticket loan; cycle scheme.
Sponsorship: Available to those who require it.