MoFo has taken an especially proactive role in the fight against COVID-19, with, for example, contributions by the Morrison & Foerster Foundation, partners, and employees exceeding $200,000 as of the day of this blog post’s publication. But Boston-based Technology Transactions Group partner Matt Karlyn’s involvement with a rapidly-growing (and now the largest) grassroots movement committed to supporting the efforts to find treatments, a vaccine, and a cure for COVID-19, was largely a product of serendipity (and Matt’s generous spirit).
Matt’s oldest son attends summer camp with the daughter of Diana Berrent, an early COVID-19 patient and survivor and the founder of Survivor Corps, an organization dedicated to connecting and mobilizing people who are currently infected with the virus, survivors of COVID-19, and their supporters, with the medical, scientific, and academic communities in an effort to stem the tide of the pandemic and ultimately support the development of treatments and vaccines.
Having met through their children, Matt and Diana are connected on Facebook. Matt saw that Diana “was posting about her experiences with COVID-19 symptoms, difficulties in getting tested, and ultimately fighting and surviving the virus,” he explains. “Eventually I saw that she had begun an organization. Wanting to leverage my life sciences experience and background in an effort to contribute to addressing the pandemic, I reached out to her to ask if the organization needed legal assistance. Diana was thrilled, and that was that.”
Matt is now leading MoFo’s pro bono efforts and will act as an advisor to Survivor Corps, Diana’s brainchild. The group, which comprises people affected by the virus and their supporters, is more than 44,000 members strong and growing daily.
With its sights set on contributing to terminating the pandemic, Survivor Corps’ initiatives are taking several forms, from investing in the research associated with finding a cure and treatment options for COVID-19, to mobilizing COVID-19 survivors to donate blood and plasma to assist in treatment options for those currently infected.
For its part, MoFo has addressed many of the organization’s privacy issues, is advising Survivor Corps on its tax and other nonprofit issues, and will be working with the organization as it continues to grow and partner with various foundations and the academic, media, and medical communities.
Matt seems almost as excited about the work as he is about the cause.
“Despite having practiced law for a couple of decades, I’ve never represented or worked with a grassroots organization that is contributing to the medical ecosystem the way that Survivor Corps is,” he says. “It’s incredibly rewarding work for an incredible organization. Leave it to Diana Berrent to go from COVID-19 victim, to COVID-19 survivor, to organizing Survivor Corps to contribute to the end of the pandemic. And that’s exactly what Survivor Corps is doing and we at MoFo are proud to be working with Diana and her incredible team on such a meaningful cause–one that literally impacts outcomes that will affect so many of us in the coming weeks and months.”
The other members of the MoFo pro bono team that are advising Survivor Corps on legal matters include Privacy and Data Security partners Julie O’Neill and Kristen Mathews and associate Tiffany Quach, of counsel in the Private Equity Investments group Kevin Madden, and of counsels in the Federal Tax group Edward Froelich and Linda Arnsbarger.