Let's talk MoFo

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Patent2014
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:11 pm

Let's talk MoFo

Postby Patent2014 » Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:59 am

Does anyone have any experience at MoFo (summer or associate) they would like to share? Particularly, if you've spent time there and other firms, how does it compare? I'm most curious about it from an IP standpoint, but any insights into the firm in general would be well appreciated. Thanks!

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's talk MoFo

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:23 am

Ex-MoFo Bay Area litigation associate.

In general, I had a good experience at MoFo and have a positive view of the firm as an alum. I was at MoFo as a junior. I was given a good mix of substantive work; got lots of drafting experience; went to trial; and barely did any doc review (<2 weeks). I liked my colleagues, and we had our fair share of lunches and happy hours. I felt the firm's heavily-marketed commitment to pro bono and diversity was sincere. My pro bono hours were very high, and I never heard a word of complaint from the firm; the hours were fully credited for all purposes including high-hours bonus. I didn't really have any bad experiences with "screamer" partners. My billable hours, including pro bono, ranged from 2200-2500. I found MoFo to be "flashier" than some other firms in terms of office space, fancier parties, etc., although this may have changed since I've been there.

In the interest of giving you possible cons as well as pros: The San Francisco office is very large, and you have to take the initiative to get yourself established in your practice group and beyond. It's possible to be invisible and "telecommute from your office," which won't really move your career forward. The firm *can* be less personal of an experience at the outset than other smaller biglaw offices in the Bay Area, but this won't last if you get out there and put down ties. I also felt that MoFo emphasized face time, including evenings and weekends, more than other firms I've been at ... and you shouldn't underestimate how much more draining this can make the biglaw experience. Also, a number of my friends who stayed into the mid/senior ranks (fifth year and up) were asked to leave the firm (after a grace period to find another job) when it determined they would not make partner, but before running out an 8-10 year track. I've heard more anecdotal stories of this happening at MoFo than elsewhere, although I obviously know a whole lot of MoFo associates which will skew things. Still, it's worth noting the contrast to the experience of many of my senior associate friends at other Bay Area firms who did not make partner -- but were only asked to leave after 9-10 years. This is only going to be relevant to you if you are intending a long stretch at a firm; most associates leave MoFo, like any other firm, within the first five years, when "up or out" is a non-issue.

I left the firm to pursue a specific non-biglaw opportunity that came my way I couldn't refuse, but I have no regrets about my time there. If you have any specific questions, I'll do my best to answer.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273572
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's talk MoFo

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:38 am

current SF associate who previously spent time at another biglaw firm. it's difficult to offer much on-point information because the firm's so large.

atmosphere: i have encountered a "screamer" partner, but s/he is an anomaly in my group. facetime is definitely more noted at mofo than my previous firm (and from what i can tell from friends, many other bay area firms). people are generally collegial, but i wouldn't characterize the environment as "warm." egos are more apparent than at my prior firm as well, with people occasionally humble-bragging about hours and how busy they are. i agree that the firm does seem to value pro bono service, although the opportunities i see are surprisingly sparse considering the size of the office. i do know some people who have received pushback from partners they work for, but i imagine this occurs at every large firm.

compensation: the shift in associate bonuses this year has been fairly well documented on ATL. doubt the firm will be a market leader in the foreseeable future, given management's attitude towards associates (opaque relationships and a clear tendency toward trying to do enough not to seem uncompetitive). i'll be interested to see if the new bonus structure sticks (i.e., no market multiples for high billers), and if so, whether it notably changes the office's culture.

work: i can't speak to the IP group, but i think the quality of work in general is pretty good. i felt the responsibility i had as a junior was fairly remarkable, which was both a positive and a negative. i do think mofo is miles behind some other firms in terms of training programs (in sophistication, depth, etc.), but training also varies by group. and many other firms are also stuck in the stone ages in terms of training. official hours targets are (i believe) 1950 + 400 "productive" nonbillables. the fact that i don't actually know our minimum target is indicative of how many hours i actually put in.

financially: the firm seems to be doing alright financially; this past year was its 3rd-best year on record, thought the firm did (purportedly) miss budget.

offices: SF offices are relatively snazzy with pretty decent kitchenettes on each floor. associate offices are pretty decently sized, although the building location isn't spectacular (kirkland has the best SF offices, imo--although the actual associate offices there are tiny).

overall: i don't regret coming to the firm--it's the biggest office in SF and certainly a recognizable brand in the city/region--but i don't expect leaving to make me sad.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's talk MoFo

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:02 am

1L here from B/S what kind of grades would you need to be competitive for a job at Mofo?

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's talk MoFo

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:1L here from B/S what kind of grades would you need to be competitive for a job at Mofo?


Along the same lines, what kind of grades at H?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273572
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's talk MoFo

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:1L here from B/S what kind of grades would you need to be competitive for a job at Mofo?


Along the same lines, what kind of grades at H?


(former MoFo associate here) For HLS, as long as you're on track to graduate cum laude, you should be fine for MoFo (obviously, higher is better.)

johndhi
Posts: 358
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:25 am

Re: Let's talk MoFo

Postby johndhi » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Ex-MoFo Bay Area litigation associate.

In general, I had a good experience at MoFo and have a positive view of the firm as an alum. I was at MoFo as a junior. I was given a good mix of substantive work; got lots of drafting experience; went to trial; and barely did any doc review (<2 weeks). I liked my colleagues, and we had our fair share of lunches and happy hours. I felt the firm's heavily-marketed commitment to pro bono and diversity was sincere. My pro bono hours were very high, and I never heard a word of complaint from the firm; the hours were fully credited for all purposes including high-hours bonus. I didn't really have any bad experiences with "screamer" partners. My billable hours, including pro bono, ranged from 2200-2500. I found MoFo to be "flashier" than some other firms in terms of office space, fancier parties, etc., although this may have changed since I've been there.

In the interest of giving you possible cons as well as pros: The San Francisco office is very large, and you have to take the initiative to get yourself established in your practice group and beyond. It's possible to be invisible and "telecommute from your office," which won't really move your career forward. The firm *can* be less personal of an experience at the outset than other smaller biglaw offices in the Bay Area, but this won't last if you get out there and put down ties. I also felt that MoFo emphasized face time, including evenings and weekends, more than other firms I've been at ... and you shouldn't underestimate how much more draining this can make the biglaw experience. Also, a number of my friends who stayed into the mid/senior ranks (fifth year and up) were asked to leave the firm (after a grace period to find another job) when it determined they would not make partner, but before running out an 8-10 year track. I've heard more anecdotal stories of this happening at MoFo than elsewhere, although I obviously know a whole lot of MoFo associates which will skew things. Still, it's worth noting the contrast to the experience of many of my senior associate friends at other Bay Area firms who did not make partner -- but were only asked to leave after 9-10 years. This is only going to be relevant to you if you are intending a long stretch at a firm; most associates leave MoFo, like any other firm, within the first five years, when "up or out" is a non-issue.

I left the firm to pursue a specific non-biglaw opportunity that came my way I couldn't refuse, but I have no regrets about my time there. If you have any specific questions, I'll do my best to answer.


Interested to hear about what you wound up doing, if you'd be kind enough to PM me.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273572
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's talk MoFo

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1L here from B/S what kind of grades would you need to be competitive for a job at Mofo?


also interested in this from B. i've heard of a B to MoFo pipeline, but i don't know specifics. can median get MoFo?




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