Morrison & Foerster (Hong Kong)

The Legal Cheek View

Back in the 1970s when law firms used teletype to send messages, Morrison & Foerster decided to use “MoFo” as its address. The nickname stuck and now serves as “an affectionate reminder that while we are very serious about our clients’ work, we don’t take ourselves too seriously”.

MoFo is headquartered in San Francisco, and so naturally, tech is a huge part of its client base. Four of the Big Five tech giants are clients of the firm. It also has specialities in corporate, finance, litigation, life sciences, intellectual property, and real estate, among others. A chunk of this work is undertaken from the firm’s offices in Asia, of which there are five; in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.

In Hong Kong, the four trainees the firm recruits each year take seats in each of the capital markets, mergers and acquisitions/private equity, and litigation groups, with a final repeat seat in one of these practice areas, taking into account the trainees’ preferences. They are given the opportunity to be seconded for three months to the firm’s offices in London and Singapore.

Continue reading

MoFo’s Hong Kong office is spread across two floors (33-34/F) in Edinburgh Tower, one of three buildings housed under The Landmark commercial complex in Central. Edinburgh Tower has 47 levels and hosts the super-luxury Mandarin Oriental hotel on the lower floors. The office is just as lush and exudes warmth upon entry: the light brown marble tiles on the walls and floors, and soft yellow lighting create a cosy atmosphere. The meeting rooms are named after familiar sites in Hong Kong such as The Peak, Repulse Bay and Stanley, and there are sculptures and artwork dotted around. The pantry has loads of snacks, soft drinks and fruit available.

There are about 50 lawyers in the Hong Kong office, including 11 partners. Everyone has their own office, including trainees, though we hear there are concerns as the firm continues to grow in Hong Kong and space becomes an issue. MoFo has a “flat structure” meaning there’s no hierarchy and an “open-door policy” in place. The partners are willing to teach, and juniors feel comfortable to knock on their doors to ask questions. The trainees often work together and share resources. The firm’s convenient location in Central means they can hang out in nearby Lan Kwai Fong (LKF), an uphill district of narrow streets and alleys lined with bars, restaurants and nightclubs. SoHo is not too far either. Closer to home, they recently put on a fried chicken and beer event.

MoFo has a hybrid work policy, meaning its lawyers and staff split their time between the office and home. The firm provides a subsidy so they can purchase WFH kit. It must be substantial if the office chairs are anything to go by — they’re ergonomic with cushioned back support!

The firm commits resources to pro bono and corporate social responsibility projects. MoFo lawyers in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai recently took part in a “virtual marathon” to help charities in Hong Kong and the mainland fight Covid-19. They also skipped lunch one day, donating the money they would’ve spent to those less well-off. MoFo led a pro bono team on the landmark QT case alongside 30 other law firms and financial institutions. The case went all the way to the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal and allowed a British lesbian expat to be granted a spousal visa. Diversity is an important value at the firm and it supports the LGBTQ+ community during ‘MoFo Pride’. What’s more, partner and co-head of the national security practice, John Smith, recently shared his experience as an openly LGBTQ+ professional during a lunch-and-learn event. “The firm goes the extra mile to provide an inclusive and respectful workplace for all genders and sexual orientations,” says a current trainee.

MoFo runs two summer vacation schemes in June and July each year, taking about ten interns in total. The firm strongly encourages prospective applicants to take part in either of the month-long schemes, but it’s not a requirement and it does also run a direct training contract application process. Given it undertakes a lot of cross-border work, the ability to read and write Chinese is preferred.


Training Contract 2025

Applications close when all vacancies are filled
Applications open 01/02/2023
Applications close 31/07/2023


First year trainee salary Undisclosed
Second year trainee salary Undisclosed
Newly qualified salary HK$140,285
PCLL grant HK$50,000

Morrison & Foerster pays newly qualified (NQ) solicitors an annual salary of US$215,000 which is equivalent to HK$140,285 per month.

General Info

Training contracts 4
Latest trainee retention rate 80%
Offices 18
Countries 18
Minimum language requirement English, Chinese (ability to read, write and speak Mandarin preferred)
Minimum degree requirement 2:1


HK female associates 66%
HK female partners 45%

Universities Current Trainees Attended