Making a Positive Impact Together
February 15, 2024 - MoFo Women, MoFo Diversity

Faces of MoFo: Tiarra Rogers Stein

Tiarra Rogers Stein

Editors’ Note: Read about Tiarra Rogers Stein, a San Francisco associate in the firm’s Litigation Department, in the latest installment of our ongoing Faces of MoFo series.

Every day when I was dropped off at school growing up, rather than tell me to be polite to my teachers or to study hard, my father figure always told me to speak my mind and stand up for others if I saw injustice. I come from a family of lifelong protestors and disobedients for civil rights. It was always instilled in me that each of us have a communal duty to speak up and fight for those who can’t, and I carried that with me, knowing I wanted to spend my career giving back to my community and making change in the larger world.

My earliest memories are running from the wild rooster that lived in the sugarcane fields outside the old school bus where I grew up. My mom’s family had lived in Mendocino County for generations, my father had moved to the area from Los Angeles with the CCC before he passed. I had never known anyone to leave the area, but my mom saved up the little she had and took me travelling as a young child, spurring my passion to travel and see the larger world. That opportunity came when I was accepted to Vassar. I was the first one in my family to pursue college directly after high school, and the first to go to graduate school.

College was one of the first times that I was able to find other queer and black community, and it opened my eyes to the shared history and larger community that I was a part of outside of the insular one that I’d had in the Yokayo valley. It was the first place that I was able to explore ideas of gender and sexuality, through drag, through queer and trans history, and within a diverse community that I’d never previously had.

Through college, I worked in film, writing and directing stories about gender rights and raising awareness on gender-based violence. But somewhere between attending a film program in Prague and working on commercials in Seattle, I found that industry was probably not the right fit for what I wanted to do with my life, and I started looking into how else I could use my voice and my skill to help larger communities. I thought about my family, about how I’d seen so many of them go through the prison system without adequate representation, about the opportunity that I’d been afforded as the first one to leave the area and started looking into law school. My desire to practice law crystallized in college after watching civil rights threaten to be further stripped from already marginalized groups in the United States through the 2010s.

While at Stanford, I was able to continue the advocacy work that I’d set out to do by going to law school. I served on the boards of the Black Law Students Association and First-Gen/Low Income Association and through my time in both, advocated for community policy to create equity in the school and in the legal profession I knew I wanted to enter my career doing work that would continue to support the underserved communities. But by being first gen, there was always the looming financial reality of it all. I knew that I wanted to go to a firm where I could practice robust pro bono in my community, and MoFo was the perfect firm to accomplish that.

While clerking, I was able to be part of the first Pride Celebration at the Northern District of California and work on cases that deeply touched on issues of civil rights.

Through my time at MoFo, I’ve seen the way that they support diversity not only in their staff and lawyers but in their local community as well. During my first litigation associate meeting, the San Francisco office highlighted the pro bono work that they’ve done with the San Francisco AIDs foundation—with a team presenting on ongoing projects with the organization. Every week, I am amazed at the number of calls for associates to work on pro bono projects from impact litigation to clinics supporting direct services. Additionally, I’ve found incredible community and mentorship here at the firm, which truly goes deeper than anywhere that I’ve ever worked before. The mentorship I’ve received from other black members of the firm like Christin Hill to pursue incredibly substantive roles on cases from the beginning of my time at MoFo has been incredible, and I feel so lucky to get to be a part of the community of lawyers that MoFo has fostered.

I didn’t imagine myself here years ago, but I know that I’ve carried the message that my family told me then in everything I do today—to speak my mind and to stand up for others. 

When I’m not at my firm, you’ll always find me running around taking on some new sport or hobby, between rock climbing with Queer Crush, playing weekend dodgeball with other folks from MoFo at a local LGBTQ+ Dodgeball league, pouring through new fantasy novels, or hopping between local indie concerts with my partner.