Lawyers Who Lead By Example

Kudos to Suz Mac Cormac on Her Commitment to Addressing Climate Change

San Francisco corporate partner Susan (Suz) Mac Cormac represented MoFo at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit, which included the announcement of Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy. As a founding member of LSE, MoFo has pledged to provide $2 million in pro bono legal services by the end of 2020 to organizations focused on developing and bringing to scale new approaches to building a more sustainable global economy.

As chair of the firm’s Social Enterprise and Impact Investing, Energy, and Clean Technology Groups, Suz has been a powerful force in driving our pledge to sustainability forward. Her work advising on the structure and launch of The Carbon Endowment earned her a commendation in the Financial Times 2018 Innovative Lawyers Report category, “Enabling Business Growth and Transformation.” It also contributed to the firm’s high overall ranking for “Most Innovative Law Firms 2018: Legal Expertise” — moving up four spots from last year.

Suz has extensive experience representing a number of clients, from startup to late-stage companies, in the clean technology, renewable energy, and sustainable space. Other nonprofits she’s advised include The Nature Conservancy, Common Sense Media, the Earth Genome Project, CREO Syndicate, Toniic, Pacific Community Ventures, and Year Up. She was named California Attorney of the Year by California Lawyer in 2012 for driving effective legislative change as co-chair of the Working Group for the Flexible Purpose Corporation, and again in 2016 for her innovative work in impact investing, sustainability, and corporate form. 

Recent Accolades + Awards


Bernard E. Witkin Medal-California Lawyers Association

The California Lawyers Association gave its Bernard E. Witkin Medal to James Brosnahan, Senior Counsel for his significant contributions to the quality of justice and legal scholarship in California.

Martin Luther King Award – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area gave the firm its Martin Luther King Award for its civil rights advocacy in helping individuals and families who are detained in deplorable conditions at the U.S. Border Patrol Detention Centers. Attorneys Colette Reiner Mayer, Louise Stoupe, Elizabeth Balassone and Pieter de Ganon along with senior paralegals Anne Le Pore and Gary Stenger were recognized for their pro bono efforts and human rights advocacy.

American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award

The American Bar Association presented San Francisco litigation partner Arturo González with its Pro Bono Publico Award, the highest honor given by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. The award recognizes González for his work on more than 100 pro bono cases during his career, which have secured favorable outcomes for clients in key areas of the law. These include ensuring the right to an education for low-income children, protecting the constitutional rights of communities of color, and curbing abusive tactics and procedures used by law enforcement agencies.

American Bar Association John H. Pickering Achievement Award

The American Bar Association selected Senior Trial Counsel James J. Brosnahan to receive its 2019 John H. Pickering Achievement Award. The Pickering Award honors an individual for brilliant legal work, advocacy of pro bono service, dedication to equal justice for all, and promotion of the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in law. The ABA recognized Brosnahan as a “lion of the law” and “one of the most recognized and respected trial lawyers in the United States,” who has tried more than 140 cases to their conclusion. Brosnahan was also credited for founding the Justice and Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco and for being an outspoken supporter of the “Civil Gideon” movement, seeking to establish a right to counsel in civil cases when basic human needs are at stake.

Outstanding Achievement Award- Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs gave the firm its Outstanding Achievement Award for its precedent-setting triumph in the Belmont Crossing case strengthening Washington, D.C.’s prohibition against housing discrimination based on source of income.

Team of the Year Award – Colorado Lawyers Committee

The Colorado Lawyers Committee (CLC) recognized Denver-based MoFo litigation partner Scott Llewellyn and his fellow members of the Jail Wait Litigation Team with the CLC Team of the Year award at the CLC's annual Awards Luncheon for volunteer lawyers on May 2, 2019. The multi-firm Jail Wait Litigation Team has advocated for people with mental illnesses for 11 years and recently negotiated a landmark settlement that will significantly reduce the criminalization of the mentally ill in Colorado.

Pro Bono Hot List – The National Law Journal

In recognition of the firm’s success in a number of cases, including representing Georgia voters in a federal lawsuit filed against state officials on a groundbreaking claim: that maintaining an unsecured, all-electronic voting system with no paper back-up violates the right to vote.


Max Gillam Pro Bono Award – The Western Center on Law and Poverty

In recognition of the firm’s work on Housing Works v. County of Los Angeles, a case brought to increase access to much needed benefits for indigent Californians with mental and developmental disabilities

American Heritage Award – American Immigration Council

In recognition of MoFo’s pro bono work in challenging inhumane conditions for immigrants housed in short-term immigration detention centers run by U.S. Customs and Border Control in Arizona

Changing the World for Children Award – Children’s Bureau

In recognition of the firm’s longstanding contribution of pro bono legal services and its financial support through The Morrison & Foerster Foundation

Pro Bono Hot List – The National Law Journal

In recognition for the firm’s success in securing medical care for veterans who suffered lasting effects after undergoing secret tests of toxins and psychological agents during their military service decades ago

Excellence in Pro Bono Service – Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation

In recognition of pro bono legal services that strengthen the global social entrepreneurship movement and improve the lives of the world’s poor and disenfranchised

Justice Award – Justice in Aging

Presented to the firm and its lawyers who worked on the Hart v. Berryhill class action, which is bringing relief to thousands of Bay Area residents who were unjustly denied disability benefits


Global Legal Awards: Grand Prize in Citizenship + Advocacy Project of the Year – American Lawyer

Honoring the commitment of MoFo Berlin lawyers serving as guardians for unaccompanied refugee children and the firm’s extensive legal assistance to nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to supporting the refugee community

Housing Works California- Tom McGuiness Community Leadership Award

Housing Works California presented Morrison & Foerster with its Tom McGuiness Community Leadership Award for its work in Housing Works v. County of Los Angeles. The firm, together with several legal services groups, is representing people with mental disabilities to secure better access to public benefits in Los Angeles County. The clients include County residents who were unable to secure and maintain General Relief Benefits due to their mental disabilities and organizations that provide aid to these residents.

New York State Bar Association-President’s Pro Bono Service Award

Adam Hunt received the New York State Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Service Award for his outstanding pro bono contributions to vulnerable New Yorkers. The award recognizes Adam’s role in several pro bono matters, including impact litigation to reform solitary confinement; rein in unwarranted surveillance of religious and political groups; and increase payments to meet the needs of children in foster care. Adding to the honor, Adam won the award for the First Judicial District (Manhattan), location of the single largest concentration of lawyers in the country.

Access to Justice Award – Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV)

Presented to the firm for litigation advocacy on behalf of special education students in the Mt. Vernon, New York school system

Pro Bono Hot List – The National Law Journal

In recognition of the firm’s June 2016 Supreme Court victory in the most important abortion rights case of a generation, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt

Pro Bono Leader – Legal Services NYC

Recognized as a top ten law firm contributor to the Legal Services NYC pro bono program


Pro Bono Partner of the Year – Bronx Defenders

Recognizing the firm for co-counseling a legal challenge to court delays that deny the right to a speedy trial to Bronx defendants who are accused of misdemeanors

First District Court of Appeals- First District Appellate Project Volunteer of the Year Award

Los Angeles Litigation Senior Counsel Timothy Ryan received the First District Appellate Project Volunteer of the Year Award. FDAP--a nonprofit law office that ensures quality representation of indigent appellants in criminal, delinquency, dependency and mental health appeals in California’s First District Court of Appeal--recognized Timothy in appreciation for providing outstanding pro bono employment law advice to FDAP.

International Pro Bono Excellence – The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

Honoring MoFo’s Tokyo office for its research on the subject of “Coercion and Consent in Sex” for pro bono client Amnesty International

Courageous Luminaries Award – The National Immigration Law Center

For the firm’s contributions to the immigrants’ rights movement, in particular, for co-counseling with the Center and others against the U.S. Border Patrol for inhumane conditions at its detention facilities in Arizona

Law360-Pro Bono Firms of the Year List

Law 360 named Morrison & Foerster to its Pro Bono Firms of the Year list for the seventh time. The list recognizes the top pro bono firms in the country, based on a record of pro bono victories, a willingness to tackle tough pro bono cases, and an overall outstanding commitment to pro bono work. MoFo is one of only two firms in the country that has appeared on this list every year since it began.

The State Bar of California-Jack Berman Award of Achievement

The State Bar of California conferred its 2016 Jack Berman Award of Achievement on Morrison & Foerster associate Elizabeth Balassone in a ceremony held during its annual meeting. The award recognizes exemplary pro bono service provided by lawyers in their first five years of practice.

EXONR8R Award – The California Innocence Project

Recognizing the firm’s dedication to the Project’s mission of seeking justice for the wrongfully convicted

Outstanding Law Firm – The San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program

For the firm’s associates and paralegals who dedicated time to cases referred by the Program, ranging from guardianships and tax advice to the trial of a custody case

Honoree, Voting Rights – Demos

Recognizing the firm for a California effort that led to the modernization of the state's voter registration system and North Carolina litigation focused on voter registration by the state’s motor vehicles department and public assistance agency

Pro Bono Leadership Award – The New Economy Project

Recognizing MoFo New York lawyers for representing former students of unscrupulous trade schools in seeking to be discharged from heavy burdens of student loan debt that yielded no educational benefit

National Abortion Federation- Christopher Tietze Humanitarian Award

Derek Foran, Christopher Robinson and Linda Shostak received the Christopher Tietze Humanitarian Award from the National Abortion Federation (NAF), which honors significant, lifetime contributions in the field of abortion service delivery and/or policy. NAF recognized the MoFo pro bono litigation team for representing the organization in a lawsuit to protect against the disclosure of secretly recorded videos of abortion providers taken by anti-abortion activists who used subterfuge and fraud to attend NAF's annual meetings.

Outstanding Law Firm in Public Service Award – The Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco

Honoring 16 MoFo lawyers and staff members for their contributions to public service and volunteer efforts with the JDC

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