Allyson Bach is a Litigation associate in MoFo’s Los Angeles office. Her practice focuses on defending clients in both commercial and labor and employment disputes. Prior to joining MoFo as a summer associate and then as a first-year associate, Allyson served as a judicial extern for the Honorable George H. Wu of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
What was it that initially drew you to this area of law?
I feel like the stars aligned for me to come to MoFo and join this practice. My first exposure to employment law was as a second-year law student. I participated in a mediation clinic at USC Gould School of Law, mediating a variety of employment cases. It was a really insightful experience to learn how both sides consider a case, and I believe that knowledge has added to the quality of the work that I do now. It turned out that the professor who ran the mediation program was a former MoFo partner, so when I started the interview process, I already had my eye on the firm.
During this time, I also met Niles Pierson through USC’s mock interview program and learned more about the employment practice at MoFo from him. Tritia Murata, co-chair of the Employment Group, was actually the one who conducted my on-campus interview at USC. And while I joined MoFo as a summer in the general litigation practice, employment was always in the back of my mind. So, when I came here as a summer, I asked for work on employment matters. My first employment assignment was to prepare a draft mediation brief, which connected what I did in law school to what I was doing at MoFo. At the end of my summer, after the exciting news of getting an offer to work at the firm, I expressed interest in working with the group, not just because of my interest in this area of the law, but also because of the people who work in the group. It’s such a diverse group, filled with really smart and talented people who take the extra time to get to know you and to really develop you as an attorney.
Do you have any examples of interesting work you’ve performed in this space?
I was probably three months into my bar admission when I received one of the most interesting assignments, to date. It came after the Wage-and-Hour team at MoFo won the first California suitable seating case to ever go to trial. This epic win is what lead to my first opportunity to draft substantive briefs and truly one of the most unique assignments I’ve ever received: claiming the costs for our client as the prevailing party. Under the advisement of two phenomenal partners, Wendy Ray and Tritia Murata, I was given the opportunity to not only prepare the memorandum of costs, but also draft the opposition brief and related supplemental briefs. After hearings on the issue, the court granted our client its claimed costs allowable as a right under the California Code of Procedure. As the case is now on appeal, I look forward to more opportunities to work on that matter.
My work experience so far is really telling of the Employment Group because there’s a lot of trust that goes into the work that’s being given out. I like that our teams are a leanly staffed because it means you really get to take ownership of the work you produce. Partners like Tritia and Wendy, and senior counsel like Karen Kubin, really care about the development of the junior attorneys in our group. We’re included on certain strategy calls, and our research and work are really important to assisting the team with making those careful decisions in the best interest of our clients. And the team leadership makes it known that our work is appreciated. Our group has an impressive amount of females in leadership positions, so the opportunities to learn from them and other diverse attorneys are really unique to our group as well. Not only does learning from individuals who come from diverse backgrounds enhance the quality of the work, but the diverse opinions they bring play heavily into the strategies we develop.
Can you speak to the importance of mentorship in your career or perhaps why you are driven to mentor others?
I could not be at this job or doing anything that I’m doing now without the mentors that I had prior to becoming an attorney and currently as a junior associate. Because I’m a first-generation professional, when I was growing up, I didn’t have a lot of professional role models to look up to. When I got to law school, I really pursued mentorships from attorneys as well as professors. MoFo has done a really great job at helping me, especially in my first year, build a solid foundation of professionalism and a network through the Odyssey Program.
My mentor Alex Yap is phenomenal. I sometimes feel hesitant to reach out because I know how busy partners are, but he always makes an effort to check in, even in this current remote environment. When we were in the office, he would pop over to my office to say hello, ask me to go to lunch, or ask me for a coffee chat. He’s given me very valuable advice: everything from how to double docket to stay on top of all my deadlines to being a better firm citizen (also known as “professionalism”) to knowing the best restaurants in Los Angeles. I also appreciate that my mentor Alex is not in my practice group because it allows me to speak candidly as well as receive a diverse perspective.
I also have been mentoring students through a program called LEAP (Legal Education Access Pipeline), which our Los Angeles Hiring Partner Purvi Patel is actually a board member of. The mission of LEAP is to diversify the legal profession by preparing underrepresented students to become successful law school applicants, lawyers, and agents of social change. I love being a mentor because it allows me the opportunity to pay it forward and gives me the chance to make an impact on the lives of these aspiring attorneys. These young students are so talented and bright. One day, they could be a colleague or a client, so I feel like it’s all around an added benefit to build my network as well.
Learn more about MoFo’s commitment to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of diverse and women attorneys here.