The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Work +1 213 892 5200
Fax +1 213 892 5454

Our Diversity Mission

Diversity has long been a core value of Morrison & Foerster. More than 20 years ago, we formally implemented our diversity mission statement, which continues to define the firm’s cultural values today. We understand that fostering an environment of inclusion enables us to offer a wide range of perspectives to provide exemplary services to our clients.

As we state in our mission statement — We at Morrison & Foerster will continue our work to break down barriers to equal opportunity, to value fully the differences among people in our organization while recognizing our similarities, and to create an atmosphere in which each individual can develop his or her potential to the fullest extent possible — the firm believes that diversity among its lawyers and staff serves its overall institutional values, which emphasize excellence in client service, collegiality, respect for everyone, professional and business ethics, and duty to the profession and the community.

Spotlight: Diversity Strategy Committee

At Morrison & Foerster we believe bringing diverse experiences to our work strengthens the quality of the service that we provide to our clients, the legal profession, and our communities. We are committed to creating an environment that promotes and celebrates diversity and inclusion.

Formed in 2003, MoFo’s Diversity Strategy Committee (DSC) supports a variety of internal diversity initiatives, programs, and groups designed to recruit, train, mentor, and retain diverse lawyers and staff.

The DSC is comprised of senior and mid-level partners, including the firm’s chair, and a firmwide managing partner, as well as the director of diversity and inclusion and director of attorney development.

Read more

Spotlight: Women's Strategy Committee

Morrison & Foerster has long championed the advancement of women within the legal profession, providing our clients with the best legal talent. Creating an inclusive culture that supports the growth and development of talented women lawyers is at the heart of our shared values and commitment. When our women succeed, we succeed as a firm.

Founded in 2006, MoFo’s Women’s Strategy Committee (WSC) works closely with firm leaders — including the firm’s chair, firmwide managing partners, executive committee, and board of directors — to ensure that the advancement of women is a constant strategic priority.

Twenty-six partners, counsel, of counsel, and associates serve on the WSC, along with seven members of our senior staff.

Read more

Diversity Leadership Q&A


Larren Nashelsky
Chair of Morrison & Foerster LLP

What is the ethos behind the firm’s approach to diversity?

At Morrison & Foerster, diversity is fundamental to who we are as a firm. We’re a mix of individuals from various ethnic, cultural, and racial backgrounds united in a belief that our shared diversity makes a difference in serving the interests of our clients, our profession, and our communities. That’s why we continuously work to attract, develop, and retain talented lawyers with diverse backgrounds. Ultimately, our goal is to create an environment in which our lawyers can see and recognize MoFo as a firm where they can professionally grow, advance, and make a meaningful difference.

What has a more diverse and inclusive workplace brought to your firm, and also to your clients?

We believe that diversity adds value to our organization by attracting the most talented people possible. By creating an inclusive environment that makes the best use of the talents of those who work here, we enhance our ability to serve our clients. By bringing diverse experiences to our work, we are not only able to provide more innovative solutions to the complex issues our clients present, but the quality of our work product and decision making is strengthened. Diversity is critical to our ability to effectively serve our clients, the legal profession, and our communities.

How do you encourage a more diverse and inclusive workplace?

The firm communicates and encourages the importance of diversity and inclusion in a variety of ways including through internal training and workshops, firmwide executive communications from the chair and managing partners, a D+I newsletter, digital and social media, and the firm’s intranet. We also include questions related to diversity and inclusion in our partner evaluation process.

In 2017, the firm became one of only 44 firms to participate in the Mansfield Certification Pilot and committed to ensuring at least 30 percent of our talent pools for leadership positions, promotions and lateral hiring are diverse. In that same year, the firm created a department dedicated to diversity and inclusion to oversee the firm’s diversity efforts and ensure diversity and inclusion is top of mind.

We also hold a series of biannual town halls to discuss diversity and inclusion in each of our domestic offices and in Asia. During these meetings we not only solicit and receive associate feedback but also disseminate information about and encourage attorneys to actively support the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

What is needed to help bring more diverse candidates into the legal profession?

A true commitment to increasing diversity, open communication, a willingness to learn, and the will to practice inclusiveness every day.

What are your policies for recruitment, and what are the major challenges?

In 2013, the firm created what is now known as the Wetmore Fellowship, which allows us to interview and hire the most talented diverse first-year law students as summer associates. We also remain committed to participating in diverse talent pipeline development programs like the SEO Scholars program, 1L LCLD Scholars, Law Preview, and Legal Outreach.

The firm has two Partner Recruiting Committees focused on identifying and supporting diverse and women lateral partner candidates through the interview/hiring process.

Retention of diverse staff is a critical issue – what are the programs your firm has in place that you feel will help retain your staff?

The firm invests in actively promoting and supporting sponsorship of diverse and women associates and provides unconscious bias training on an ongoing basis. It has created two Associate Advisory and Engagement Committees on diversity and women’s affairs to ensure open, honest, and consistent dialogue among associates and between associates and partners.

Firmwide, we have 29 affinity groups that give voice to lawyers of color, women lawyers, LGBTQ+ lawyers, working parents, and veterans. The firm holds local, regional, and firmwide diversity workshops, training, and events which firm leaders attend and participate in, and reiterate the importance of diversity.

A Longstanding Core Value: Firmwide Initiatives and Programs

Mentoring Programs

Investing in the next generation of diverse leaders is a key priority at MoFo. Our Diversity Mentoring Program supports the development of under-represented minority associates by matching them with partners who mentor the attorneys through their associate years.

Read more

Sponsorship Program

Senior lawyers across the firm — including women and men — readily acknowledge their indebtedness to the mentorship and guidance they received early in their careers and are committed to paying back that debt by sponsoring senior women associates for partnership.

Read more

Fostering a Culture of Inclusion

We are constantly looking to improve and build on the training and programs we offer our lawyers. As a firm, we provide opportunities for our diverse lawyers to talk candidly about issues they are facing and how we can address them.

Read more

Affinity Groups

Our affinity group programs for lawyers of color, women lawyers, and LGBTQ+ lawyers create a sense of community. Launched in 2008, the programs have expanded to include more than two dozen affinity groups.

Read more

Recruiting Initiatives

Founded in 2011, our Keith Wetmore 1L Fellowship for Excellence, Diversity, and Inclusion awards fellowships to promising first-year law students who are members of historically under-represented groups in the legal profession.

Read more

For More Information

For more information on our diversity-related programs and initiatives, visit here.

For more information on our MoFo women-related programs and initiatives, visit here.

Stay up to date on our firmwide diversity events and activities by subscribing to our MoFo+ blog here.

Awards and Accolades

We are honored to be recognized for our commitment to diversity in our firm, in our communities, and the legal profession.

  • The American Lawyer has ranked MoFo a top 15 firm on its Diversity Scorecard for 17 years in a row. MoFo was among the top 10 law firms in 2017.
  • In 2018, MoFo was named to Yale Law Women’s inaugural list of Top 10 Female Friendly Firms.
  • Vault 100 ranked MoFo among the top 15 firms for LGBT diversity, the top 25 firms for minorities, and the top 20 firms for women.
  • Named Law Firm of the Year for Flexible Working Environments and Innovative Programs for Mothers at the 2017 Chambers Women in Law Awards
  • For 15 consecutive years, the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index has given MoFo a 100 percent perfect rating in its annual report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality in corporate America.
  • 2017 marks the ninth year MoFo has been named to Working Mother’s list of the Top 50 Firms for Women.
  • For seven consecutive years, MoFo has received Gold Standard Certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum in recognition of the integration of women into the firm’s top leadership.

Diversity Stats

Firm has a written diversity strategy that has been communicated to all Firm attorneys. Firm gives billable credit for work that is directly related to diversity efforts (but is not pro bono work). Firm ties a component of partner compensation to diversity efforts. Firm has a diversity committee that includes senior partners and that reports to the Firm’s highest governing body. Firm has a full or part-time diversity professional who performs diversity-related tasks. Firm has affinity or employee resource groups for its women and diverse attorneys, which meet at least quarterly. Firm has a succession plan that specifically emphasizes greater inclusion of women and diverse lawyers. Firm mandates and monitors that minority and women attorneys have equal access to clients, quality work assignments, committee appointments, marketing efforts and Firm events. Firm requires inclusion of at least one diverse candidate in all hiring decisions. Firm policy specifically prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Firm provides opportunity for attorneys to voluntarily disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression through Firm data collection procedures. Firm policy specifically provides for paid maternity leave.  Firm policy specifically provides for paid paternity leave.  Firm has a formal, written part-time policy that permits partners to be part-time.  Firm has a flex-time policy. Firm provides for or mandates diversity training for all lawyers and staff. Firm has a supplier diversity program.

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to