MoFo Women

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.

Women’s Strategy Committee

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.

WSC co-chairs travel to our offices for biannual “What’s Up with the WSC” town halls. The meetings elicit helpful feedback from our lawyers that drives and improves the committee’s goals, programs, and initiatives.

Through its task - force structure, the WSC focuses on several key areas to support its mission, including alumni, marketing, professional skills programming, relationship-building among women partners and between women associates and partners, lateral recruiting, and work - life programs.

Thirty partners, counsel, of counsel, and associates serve on the WSC, along with members of our senior staff.

Co-Chairs

Committee Members

  • Gemma Anderson, Partner, London
  • Tiffany Cheung, Partner, San Francisco
  • Huilin Cornell, Associate, Los Angeles
  • Diane Downs, Chief Legal Talent Officer, San Francisco
  • Erika Drous, Attorney Career Development Manager, Los Angeles
  • David Ephraim, Partner, Boston
  • Shauna France, Associate, Palo Alto
  • Annabel Gillham, Partner, London
  • Gretchen Debenham Hug, Head of Legal Talent – Asia, Palo Alto
  • Natalie Kernisant, Director of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Maureen Linch, Associate, San Francisco
  • Craig D. Martin, Managing Partner, San Francisco
  • Aisulu Masylkanova, Associate, New York
  • Christie Mizer, Attorney Career Development Advisor, Washington, D.C.
  • Cheryl Moser, Managing Director of Practice Admin, San Francisco
  • Tritia M. Murata, Partner, Los Angeles

Who We Are

We invite you to take a closer look at MoFo’s ongoing and ever-evolving diversity, women’s, and LGBTQ+ initiatives. In the gallery below, you’ll find a series of regularly distributed brochures featuring stories from some of MoFo’s talented lawyers, as well as highlights from recent events and programs.

Awards + Recognitions

MoFo women are setting the standard for excellence. They head teams that bring and defend groundbreaking cases; they lead cutting-edge practices; and they are nationally and internationally recognized as the best of the best by clients, competitors, and colleagues. They bring tremendous value to our firm, our clients, and our profession. The example they set with their excellence and the recognition they earn send a strong signal to other women about MoFo and the type of firm we strive to be.

    • Law360: Named one of the top 10 firms in the 601+ attorneys’ category, the firm has received the recognition based on two measures: the percentage of female attorneys at the firm and the percentage of female equity partners. Additionally recognized again this year as one of the “Ceiling Smashers,” a list of firms that have the highest representation of women in their equity partnerships. The firm’s percentage of female equity partners is the third-highest in the 601+ attorneys’ category.
    • Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF): Awarded the Gold Standard Certification for meeting objective benchmarks pertaining to the number of women among equity partners and firm leadership and in the ranks of their most highly compensated partners. In 2020, we were one of 12 firms to achieve a special Ten-Year certificate highlighting our continued commitment to women in law.
    • Working Mother: Recognized as one of the Best Law Firms for Women for the 11th time, including every year since 2014. We are one of the law firms that has been recognized 10 times or more, which, as of 2019, earned us a designation on the Hall of Fame list.
    • Yale Law Women: Included in its annual Top Firms for Gender Equity & Family Friendliness Report, specifically recognized as a Top Firm for Diverse Partnership due to the firm’s strong level of representation of women and women of color at the partnership level.
  • During the 2020 editorial year, numerous women received recognitions.

    • American Bar Association: Linda Arnsbarger received the National Public Service Award and Lisa Phelan was recognized by the Antitrust Law Section’s Women.Connected Committee as a member of the Hall of Fame-inism.
    • Asian Legal Business: Chie Yakura was named Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year as part of the Japan Law Awards. Additionally, Sarah Thomas was recognized within the Asian Legal Business 40 Under 40 list.
    • Benchmark Litigation: Jessica Grant was named to the publication’s Top 250 Women in Litigation for the North America region. Within the Asia-Pacific category, Louise Stoupe, Sarah Thomas, and Chie Yakura were all named to the Top 100 Women in Litigation list.
    • C5 Women in Compliance: Barbara Mendelson was named Compliance Lawyer of the Year as part of the Women in Compliance Awards.
    • City & State New York: Carrie Cohen was named to the Law Power 100 list.
    • Crain’s New York Business: Cecillia Xie was included in the 20 in their 20s list.
    • Daily Journal: Several individuals were recognized, including Catherine Polizzi and Stefani Shanberg for Top Intellectual Property Lawyers; Erin Bosman for Top Health Care Lawyers; Penelope Preovolos for Top Antitrust Lawyers; Janie Schulman and Tritia Murata for Top Labor and Employment; and Jennifer Schmidt for Top 40 Under 40.
    • Euromoney LMG: In 2020, Barbara Mendelson was recognized as the Financial Regulation Lawyer of the Year as part of the Americas Women in Business Law Awards. Catherine Polizzi and Janet Xiao were also named Life Sciences Stars.
    • Hispanic National Bar Association: Alexis Amezcua was named a Top Lawyer Under 40.
    • Latinvex: Ruti Smithline received a Top 100 Lawyer recognition for both FCPA & Fraud, as well as Arbitration & Litigation. Ruti was also named a Top 100 Female Lawyer alongside Alexandra Aguirre.
    • Law360: Tritia Murata was named a MVP of the Year for Employment.
    • Los Angeles Business Journal: Purvi Patel was named a Top Minority Attorney and Tritia Murata was named a Top Women Attorney.
    • Managing IP: Deanne Maynard was recognized as the Outstanding Practitioner of the Year – Appellate as part of the Global Awards. Catherine Polizzi and Stefani Shanberg were both recognized as Top 250 Women in IP as well.
    • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association: Bonnie Lau was honored with the Best Under 40 Award.
    • San Francisco Business Times: Alexis Amezcua was named a 40 Under 40 recipient.
    • Turnaround & Workouts: Jennifer Marines was named an Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyer.
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