Press Release

Morrison & Foerster Elevates Long-Time Diversity Leader to Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Natalie Kernisant (she/her/hers) previously served as Firm’s Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion; new role reaffirms commitment to promoting Firm’s core values

17 Dec 2020

NEW YORK (December 17, 2020) – Morrison & Foerster, a leading global law firm, is pleased to announce that Natalie Kernisant has been appointed as the Firm’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Ms. Kernisant, who has been with Morrison & Foerster for seven years, previously served as the Firm’s Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion (D+I).

“Diversity and inclusion have long been core values of our Firm and elevating Natalie into this new role reaffirms our belief in her leadership and our commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Larren M. Nashelsky, chair of Morrison & Foerster. “Natalie’s appointment is a testament to her standout contributions to the Firm’s D+I initiatives in the past several years. I am confident she will continue to challenge us all to do more, as individuals and as a Firm, and together with our Diversity Strategy Committee, develop new initiatives and goals that will further strengthen D+I within the Firm, the legal industry, and beyond.”

Earlier this year, Morrison & Foerster achieved “Mansfield Certification Plus” for the third year in a row as a result of successfully reaching at least 30 percent women, communities of color, and LGBTQ+ lawyer representation in a notable number of current leadership roles and committees. The Firm is one of only 25 to have received Certification Plus for three consecutive years.

Among her many achievements as Global Director of D+I, Ms. Kernisant has been instrumental in shaping and coordinating the Firm’s response to fighting racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. She has led the D+I team in providing outstanding programming, training, and educational opportunities, and she spearheaded the development of four engagement committees focused on legal services, charitable donations, community action, and education. In her new role, Ms. Kernisant will provide strategic leadership to advance recruiting and retention of diverse talent, as well as providing client development support in the area of D+I. 

“Over the course of my time at MoFo, I have witnessed how incredibly committed our people are to diversity, equity, and inclusion. I remain inspired by the authenticity of that commitment. In my new role, I look forward to helping amplify the impact of the Firm’s efforts to recruit, develop, and promote our incredibly talented attorneys of color, women and LGBTQ+ attorneys and to supporting our attorneys as they partner with clients in furtherance of these same goals.”

Ms. Kernisant will continue to work closely with the Firm’s Diversity Strategy Committee co-chairs Purvi Patel, Mark Whitaker, and Tony Carbone and Women’s Strategy Committee co-chairs Carrie Cohen and Stacey Sprenkel.

“Natalie’s creativity, commitment, and leadership have been unparalleled, and we are looking forward to partnering with her on these important issues as the Firm continues to prioritize D+I,” said Ms. Patel.

Ms. Kernisant is a former attorney and earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. She holds a Master’s in Human Resources Management (MILR) from Cornell University ILR School and a Master’s from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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