A Tale of Three Students

Editors’ Note: Since 2008, Morrison & Foerster’s New York office has partnered with Cristo Rey High School, a college preparatory school in East Harlem, to provide high school students with real world working experience. Through the school’s Corporate Work Study Program, students develop professional skills that prepare them for life beyond high school. We sat down with three of our interns to ask them about their time at MoFo.

Janice Rivera, Cristo Rey High School Senior
Finance Department

Most people are surprised when I tell them I work at MoFo. I first joined the firm four years ago during my freshman year of high school, and I have been a part of the finance department as an intern ever since.

Initially, I braced myself for the difficulties of the corporate world that people warned me about, but I have found working at MoFo to be both a challenging and interesting experience.

I am expected to contribute just as every other employee. I love that I am evaluated not as a high school student, but as a member of the finance group. It has pushed me to bring my own ideas to the work place, to elevate my communication skills when working with others, and to excel in my work because others depend on it.

MoFo is such a personable and friendly place to work! People at MoFo are kind and are eager to build a community where people help each other.

My most memorable moment at MoFo was staff appreciation week. Being in a room with so many adults who respect one another and who take the time to genuinely express their appreciation was inspiring.

In particular, I have enjoyed working with my supervisor Chris Kalpakis and co-worker Fernando Luna. Both have shaped my experience at MoFo. Their welcoming demeanor and patience encouraged me not to be afraid to ask questions.

My next journey is college. I will be attending St. John’s University. I am excited to take the lessons I learned at MoFo and build strong relationships, open myself to other experiences, and embark on new adventures!

Tyler Gaston, Cristo Rey High School Junior
Mail Room

My experience at MoFo has been memorable. I have been working with the mail room for two years and I have been warmly welcomed into the MoFo family ever since I joined the firm.

During my time with the mail room, I have learned a lot about the intricacies of shipping and about the impact that the support groups have on the efficiency of the firm.

Working at MoFo has opened my eyes to new ideas and opportunities, including my career interests. I am now considering a career in law enforcement! It has also influenced my family’s outlook on my future. My family thinks that my employment at MoFo is great. They enjoy knowing I am branching out from Harlem and expanding my dreams. Lastly, working here has influenced my thinking on teamwork.

My fondest experience happened last year when I was leaving for summer break after my first year with the firm. I was surprised when my co-workers took me out to lunch and made me feel appreciated for all of my work. However, I am the one that truly appreciates them. My co-workers have always made me feel like I am part of the team, even when I was nervous about working with a big law firm.

Overall, my experience at MoFo has been so rich and interesting. I am excited to come back next year!

Rayne Peralta, Cristo Rey High School Freshman
Capital Markets

As a freshman, I was excited about the prospect of working at such a prestigious firm like MoFo.

Since my first day, I have jumped into doing real work with the Capital Markets Group. The bulk of my work focuses on researching and monitoring relationships that MoFo currently has.

Working with MoFo has taught me many valuable lessons. I have learned about the power of cultivating fulfilling relationships and the impact of being organized and productive.

More than anything, working at MoFo while attending a rigorous high school has taught me how to balance two demanding interests and how to leverage the skills from one and apply it to the other. The internal support from so many co-workers has made balancing my two schedules much easier. My co-workers strived to help me merge seamlessly into the team. They took the time to help me learn about capital markets and the importance of monitoring client relationships.

I have also found friends in unexpected places. Kat Mateo, a litigation associate, bought me a full set of Harry Potter books after I mentioned that I was a fan of the novels but didn’t own any of the books.

New York finance partner Anna Pinedo has also been a mentor in my journey and has helped me navigate the law firm world.

All of the amazing people and experiences at MoFo have made me even more excited to return in the fall!