As part of our ongoing Faces of MoFo series, Tola Adeseye, a London associate in our Investigations + White Collar Defense Group, discusses his career path and what led him to call MoFo home.
My journey to MoFo started in east London, and the postcode of our new London office would tell you that my MoFo journey continues to take place on the east side of the city. I was born and raised in London, by Nigerian parents who migrated to the UK in the 1980s. My father was a lawyer in Nigeria, which meant that a career in law was on my radar from an early age, and began to materialize when I finally let go of my (pipe) dream of becoming a Premier League football player.
For university, I decided to venture as far as the other side of London to study law at Brunel University. The university had a somewhat unique law course that included one year of legal employment in the middle of the degree. I was fortunate enough to be placed at the UK's Crown Prosecution Service during this year, in a department tasked with prosecuting some of the country's most high-profile drugs and firearms importation cases.
My experience here — which included observing and assisting talented barristers and prosecutors — really cemented my aspirations to become a lawyer (albeit, preferably in a more commercial setting). In the final year of my studies, I began to look more closely at opportunities in U.S. firms with London offices, particularly as U.S. firms were championed for diversity in the London market. Of the opportunities that presented themselves, my two-week vacation scheme at MoFo was, by far and away, the one that impressed me most. The firm ticked several boxes with its remarkable client list, non-hierarchical atmosphere, fantastic pro bono opportunities, and employees from all backgrounds and walks of life.
The English system meant that I was able to spend the first two years of my MoFo employment rotating between four different practice areas. Having never lived outside the corners of the London Underground map, I spent one of my six-month rotations in our Singapore office. The combination of working in a foreign jurisdiction and exploring South-East Asia with my (then new) wife in my free time made it a truly wonderful experience.
Ultimately, I found my calling as a litigator focusing primarily on white-collar crime investigations, thus melding my previous experience of criminal law with the commercial environment that I was seeking. Working on high-profile cross-jurisdictional investigations for industry-leading clients has been the highlight of my career so far, and not only because of the opportunity for more international travel! Aside from the high-profile client work, being a lawyer at MoFo has also enabled me to use my skills to benefit some of those less fortunate in my city, both through pro bono initiatives and social mobility mentoring schemes.
Because I have experienced a number of life milestones at the firm, I don't consider MoFo merely a workplace. I got married early in my MoFo career and we now have a two-year old daughter. Given how time-consuming such life events can be, I am grateful to have been working in an environment where I could undertake high-quality, and oftentimes demanding, work around people whose company I genuinely enjoy, and have never felt prevented from enjoying life outside of work. For example, I remain an avid football fan and have even attended several football matches with a partner at MoFo as we follow the same football team.
I feel very well-integrated as part of both the London office and the firm's wider network. I continue to be a member of the MoFo Diversity Committee in London and often take up roles in committees for specific business development and social events. MoFo has also encouraged me to join external organizations such as the Young Fraud Lawyers Association, and generally engage in thought-leadership initiatives.
I am privileged to have been able to pursue my aspirations in the city I love, in a firm that feels like home.