Firm orientation welcomes talented diverse first-year law students joining MoFo as fellows in summer associate positions in 2014; noted journalist Soledad O’Brien makes special guest appearance
NEW YORK (May 29, 2014) – Former CNN news anchor Soledad O’Brien was the guest speaker at Morrison & Foerster’s Diversity Fellowship Kick-Off Event, held in the firm’s New York offices. The day-long orientation welcomed the nine recipients of Morrison Foerster’s 2014 1L Diversity Fellowships, providing them with the opportunity to meet with firm attorneys and learn how to make the most of their upcoming time at the firm and their second year of law school.
In 2014, Morrison & Foerster awarded fellowships to nine first-year law students from historically underrepresented groups in the legal profession. The fellows, who study at some of the top law schools in the United States, were selected from a pool of more than 400 applicants. The fellows will hold paid summer associate positions in five of the firm’s U.S. offices. This is the third year that MoFo has organized a fellowship program supporting the career development of promising law students of color. The Kick-Off Event allowed the students to meet one another, as well as some of the firm’s lawyers.
“The event provided our fellows with an opportunity to bond as a class and meet more of the MoFo family,” said Karen Hagberg, a partner in the firm’s New York office who, along with Washington, D.C. partner Obrea Poindexter, co-chairs Morrison & Foerster’s Diversity Strategy Committee. “This is the first time we organized such an immersive orientation for incoming fellows, and it was a tremendous success.”
The event provided the fellows with skills-based training and guidance concerning legal writing, firm etiquette, networking, and mentorship.
The day began with an informal breakfast with partners, where Morrison & Foerster Chair Larren Nashelsky gave welcome remarks on the state of the firm and its commitment to diversity. Keith Wetmore, MoFo’s chair emeritus, then offered an “Introduction to the Firm,” which reviewed its history, structure, key practice areas, and leadership.
Additional speakers and participants included nearly two dozen lawyers from an array of practice groups, as well as Anand David, MoFo’s director of recruiting, and Natalie Kernisant, the firm’s attorney diversity manager. Marguerite Fletcher of law firm diversity consulting group Vernā Myers was also a guest lecturer.
During lunch, Ms. O’Brien discussed her career in broadcast journalism and the importance of mentorship, authenticity, and personal development. She spoke to the fellows about their own leadership aspirations as women, persons of color, or LGBT individuals.
“Soledad’s presence generated excitement among our fellows,” said Ms. Hagberg. “Overall, the program was an active day of introductions and orientation, and we were pleased that these promising law students were able to get their first glimpse into Morrison & Foerster and their upcoming fellowships. We’re confident that they will return to their respective campuses as even stronger goodwill ambassadors of the firm.”
To date, Morrison & Foerster has awarded fellowships to 20 diverse law students. Details about the program can be found on the firm’s recruiting site, www.mofocareers.com.
Since 2010, Morrison & Foerster has been ranked each year among the top 10 firms for overall diversity on The American Lawyer’s Diversity Scorecard. Yale Law Women named Morrison & Foerster to its Top 10 Family Friendly Firms List for 2014, and the firm has received a 100 percent ranking 11 years in a row on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. The excellence of the firm’s diverse lawyers has also been recognized in publications such as Best Lawyers, Chambers, IFLR, and Legal 500. These independent legal directories rely on feedback from clients and peers, and include the firm’s diverse lawyers in their rankings — many in the top tiers.