MoFo commits to Europe with regional managing partner role

Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) has named investigations and antitrust partner Paul Friedman as its first managing partner for Europe, some nine months after launching its third office in the region.

Friedman will be responsible for leading the US firm’s development in Europe, building closer relationships between MoFo’s London, Brussels and Berlin offices. The firm launched in Berlin in September last year, taking a team from Hogan Lovells (24 September 2013).

Paul Friedman Morrison & Foerster
Paul Friedman, Morrison & Foerster

Friedman told The Lawyer his initial aim in the new role would be to “address opportunities that we see in Europe”.

“These are opportunities that exist now, not opportunities that are pie-in-the-sky,” he added. “We think we can realise tremendous benefits for the firm and our clients by delivering synergies.”

He said those synergies would be between the three European offices, as well as between Europe and other regions, particularly Asia.

Friedman said his own practice, which focuses on global investigations, competition and white-collar crime, equipped him well for the new role as he was already aware of the ways in which the firm’s offices could work together on cross-border matters.

He did not rule out more office launches, but said expanding MoFo’s existing presence was the first step.

“It’s definitely about growth, but the plan is to start with growing based on what we have,” Friedman said. “We can do more, we can realise more client opportunities. We do want to build on our successful acquisition in Berlin and ensure that it’s flourishing. In the first nine months of our 30-lawyer Berlin acquisition we’ve realised great synergies and connectivity with other parts of the firm.”

Friedman has previously held a number of other managing roles during his 28 years as a MoFo partner, including chairing the firm’s litigation department and sitting on its executive and partner compensation committees.

The establishment of the European managing partner role follows the election of Eric Piesner as Asia managing partner in 2012 (20 September 2012). Trevor James, Rony Gerrits, Jens-Uwe Hinder and Hanno Timner will continue to serve as the managing partners of the London, Brussels and Berlin offices respectively.

MoFo has been in Europe for over 30 years, having launched in London in 1980 and Brussels in 1991 before opening in Berlin last year.