Editor's note: Read about Masha Miura, who participated in MoFo’s 2023 Summer Associate Program in our New York office, in this installment of our MoFo Stories series.
As a biracial woman of color, finding spaces in which I can be authentically and unapologetically myself has always been difficult. When I began my search for a 1L summer associate position in 2022, I was daunted by the prospect of having to alter how I look and behave in order to “fit in.” However, Morrison Foerster quickly distinguished itself from the seemingly endless list of law firms in New York.
During my interview process, I spoke with Nishi Tavernier, an associate who would later become my 1L mentor. I will never forget her response to my question, “Why MoFo?” She discussed how she felt welcomed at Morrison Foerster for who she is, and how she did not feel like she had to change any aspect of herself to thrive at MoFo. Those words prompted me to choose MoFo as my 1L, and later, my 2L firm; MoFo is a place that quickly became my own.
At Morrison Foerster, the emphasis and commitment to diversity and inclusion became clear to me from day one. Through the mentorship program as well as formal and informal affinity group meetings, I felt more than just “included”; I felt empowered. Each year, I was also afforded the opportunity to attend the Wetmore Fellows Retreat, a gathering in San Francisco that brings together diverse summer associates, attorneys, and partners from across the country. The retreat allowed for both my own professional development and the growth of my own MoFo community. Morrison Foerster has enabled its diverse summer associates to thrive, unburdened by feeling the need to codeswitch to be a part of the community.
Even more, at MoFo, diversity and inclusion go beyond internal efforts to promote belonging, also reaching out to the larger New York community. For example, the legal outreach program brings together summers, associates, and partners to meet with and provide opportunities for local high school students. Further, by proving pro bono opportunities, including helping Afghan refugees apply for asylum and working on anti-discrimination lawsuits, Morrison Foerster has allowed me to interact and work collaboratively with larger efforts to promote anti-racism.
Although starting as a summer associate can seem like an intimidating prospect, Morrison Foerster excels at making its summers feel at home. Diversity and inclusion go beyond words at MoFo and are a central part of the firm’s culture, commitments, and community.