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.

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

Co-Chairs

Committee Members

  • Gemma Anderson, Partner, London
  • 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
  • Annabel Gillham, Partner, London
  • Gretchen Debenham Hug, Head of Legal Talent – Asia, Palo Alto
  • Natalie Kernisant, Director of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Alexandra Eve Steinberg Laks, Associate, San Francisco
  • Maureen Linch, Associate, San Francisco
  • Suzanne Marinkovich, Associate, San Diego
  • Craig D. Martin, Managing Partner, San Francisco
  • Aisulu Masylkanova, Associate, New York
  • Lynnsey McCall, Head of Legal Talent/Recruitment – Europe, London
  • Christie Mizer, Attorney Career Development Advisor, Washington, D.C.
  • Cheryl Moser, Managing Director of Practice Admin, San Francisco

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.

    • Working Mother magazine named MoFo one of 2019’s Best Law Firms for Women and included the firm in its inaugural Hall of Fame list. The annual list recognizes the top U.S. law firms with reduced-hours programs and work-life balance initiatives that support the retention and advancement of women lawyers.
    • In 2019, Yale Law Women named MoFo one its Top 10 Firms for both Gender Equity and Family Friendliness. From 2014 to 2017, MoFo was named to its Top 10 Family Friendly Firms List and in 2018 the firm was named to its inaugural Top 10 Female Friendly Firms list.
    • The Daily Journal named San Francisco partners Susan Mac Cormac and Stefani Shanberg, as well as San Diego partner Julie Y. Park to its list of 2019 Top Women Lawyers in California. Los Angeles partner Elizabeth Sluder was also recognized in 2018.
    • Crain’s New York Business named New York partners Jamie Levitt and Barbara Mendelson to the 2019 lists of Notable Women in Law.
    • The Daily Journal named San Francisco litigation partner Alexis Amezcua to its list of 2019 Top 40 Under 40 Lawyers.
    • In 2019, City and State named Carrie Cohen one of New York’s 50 Most Influential Lawyers.
    • New York partner Jessica Kaufmann was selected as a 2019 women’s executive leadership Fellow with the Impact Center, a leadership development organization for high-impact individuals and institutions. Previous MoFo Fellows include Natalie Fleming Nolen, Obrea Poindexter, Ruti Smithline, Stacey Sprenkel, and Janet Xiao.
    • For eight consecutive years, MoFo has received Gold Standard Certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum in recognition of its integration of women into leadership roles.
    • Since 2013, MoFo has received a Gold Level Award from the Healthy Mothers Workplace Coalition for our dedication to creating a work environment that is friendly to working mothers.
    • In 2018, firmwide managing partner Tessa Schwartz was honored by the Corporate Counsel for Innovative Leadership at the National Women in Law Awards. The California Diversity Council recognized her as one of its 2017 Top 50 Women Lawyers.
    • Asian Legal Business named Shirin Tang Woman Lawyer of the Year as part of its 2018 SE Asia Law Awards.
    • In 2018, the San Francisco Business Times profiled Susan Mac Cormac as one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business.
    • MoFo was named Law Firm of the Year for Promoting Flexible Working Environments and Innovative Programs for Mothers at the 2017 Chambers Women in Law Awards: USA.
    • San Francisco partner Alexis Amezcua was appointed MoFo’s 2016 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellow. As part of her fellowship, Alexis participated in a year-long leadership development program. MoFo has participated in the fellowship program since its founding in 2011. Tritia M. Murata, Purvi Patel, and Sylvia Rivera are among the firm’s previous LCLD Fellows.
    • The Executive Committee of the Antitrust, UCL, and Privacy Section of the California Lawyers Association recognized Penelope Preovolos as the 2019 Antitrust Lawyer of the Year.
    • Euromoney Legal Media Group named Natalie Fleming Nolen a 2019 Rising Star – Best in Antitrust/Competition. 
    • Global Competition Review honored Lisa Phelan with the Pathmaker of the Year Award in 2018.
    • Global Competition Review named Roxann Henry one of its 150 Women in Antitrust for 2016.
    • The National Law Journal named Roxann Henry to its 2016 list of Antitrust and M&A Trailblazers.
    • LMG Life Sciences honored Deanne Maynard with the 2019 Appellate Litigator of the Year – Intellectual Property Award. 
    • Benchmark Litigation named Deanne Maynard one of their Top 250 Women in Litigation for 2018.
    • In 2017, Law360 named Deanne Maynard an Appellate MVP.
    • Turnarounds & Workouts listed Jennifer Marines as an Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyer in 2019. This is the fourth year in which Jennifer was selected to receive this honor.
    • In 2017, Law360 named New York partner Jennifer Marines a Bankruptcy Rising Star. This is the second year in which Jennifer has received this honor.
    • The Daily Journal named Susan Mac Cormac a Top Female Lawyer for the sixth time in 2019.
    • Elizabeth Sluder was named one of the best lawyers in California in The Daily Journal’s “Top 40 Lawyers Under 40” list for 2017.
    • Susan Mac Cormac received the 2016 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year award from The Daily Journal.
    • In 2016, Susan Mac Cormac was honored with the American Bar Association Business Law Section’s National Public Service Award for her pro bono work with nonprofits and enterprises that serve low-income individuals.
    • Karen Kubin was included on The Daily Journal’s list of the Top 2018 Labor & Employment Lawyers. She was also included from 2010 to 2012.
    • Euromoney named Barbara Mendelson Best in Financial Regulation at the 2019 Euromoney Americas Women in Business Law Awards. Barbara also won the award in 2017 and has been shortlisted every year since 2012.
    • MoFo was named the Best Regulatory Law Firm of the Year at the 2016 C5 Women in Compliance Awards. The awards ceremony, which is held in London, recognizes and celebrates the successes and achievements of women compliance professionals from across the corporate spectrum.
    • In 2015, the Financial Times named Susan Mac Cormac the Most Innovative Individual Lawyer in North America.
    • The Daily Journal recognized Stefani Shanberg and Catherine Polizzi as 2019 Top Intellectual Property Lawyers for the third year in a row.
    • Catherine Polizzi named on Managing Intellectual Property's Top 250 Women in IP for 2019.
    • Managing Intellectual Property names Catherine Polizzi, Stefani Shanberg, and Stephanie Sharron 2019 Global IP Stars.
    • In 2018, Catherine Polizzi was inducted into the LMG Life Sciences Hall of Fame.
    • LMG Life Sciences named Deanne Maynard and Catherine Polizzi Life Sciences Stars in 2017 and 2016.
    • Louise Stoupe is ranked as a leading individual for dispute resolution in the 2019 edition of The Legal 500 Asia - Pacific.
    • Benchmark Litigation named Carrie Cohen and Deanne Maynard to its 2018 list of Top 250 Women in Litigation.
    • Global Investigations Review named Carrie Cohen, Demme Doufekias, and Ruti Smithline to its prestigious list of 2018 Top Women in Investigations.
    • The Daily Journal recognized Stacey Sprenkel on its 2018 list of the Top 40 Under 40 lawyers in California.
    • Carrie Cohen was named a 2016 Litigation Trailblazer by the National Law Journal.
    • Global Investigations Review named Ruti Smithline to its inaugural list of 40 Under 40.
    • Washington, D.C. partner Lauren Bellerjeau was named a 2017 Mergers & Acquisitions Rising Star by Law360.
    • Lauren Bellerjeau received a 2016 Emerging Leader Award from The M&A Advisor.
    • The M&A Advisor International Awards named Jackie Liu the 2014 Legal Advisor of the Year.
    • Jackie Liu was named one of Law360’s 2013 Rising Stars.
    • Cybersecurity Docket named Miriam Wugmeister to its 2019 Incident Response 30 list, recognizing the 30 best and brightest data – breach response lawyers.
    • The Financial Times honored New York partner Miriam Wugmeister as one of 2016’s 10 most innovative lawyers in North America.
    • The National Law Journal named Miriam Wugmeister to its 2016 list of Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Trailblazers.
    • Miriam Wugmeister was named to Ethisphere’s 2012 Attorneys Who Matter list as a leading data privacy and security lawyer.
    • Law360 named Nicole Johnson to its 2019 Rising Star list for Best in Tax.
    • Euromoney Legal Media Group named Vivian Hanson “Best in Technology” as part of its 2018 Americas Women in Business Law Awards.
    • The Recorder named Susan Mac Cormac and Tessa Schwartz to its 2018 Women Leaders in Tech Law list. In 2017, Catherine Polizzi and Stefani Shanberg made the list.
    • Global Investigations Review named Carrie Cohen, Ruti Smithline, and Demme Doufekias to its prestigious list of Top 2018 Women in Investigations.
    • New York partner Carrie Cohen was named to the New York Law Journal’s 2016 inaugural list of the Top Women in Law.
    • In 2016, Carrie Cohen was presented the Commercial & Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association’s First Annual Shira A. Scheindlin Award for Excellence in the Courtroom.
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