Editor's note: Read about Nina Worth, who participated in MoFo’s 2023 Summer Associate Program in our Washington, D.C. office, in this installment of our MoFo Stories series.
Prior to choosing a law firm, I knew good mentorship was a vital element in considering where to start my legal career. As a first-generation attorney and woman of color navigating this industry, finding quality mentorship was crucial in developing personal and professional growth. At Morrison Foerster, I believe I have found just that at all levels of the firm.
Even before arriving at MoFo, I was fortunate to receive informal mentorship from Joseph Palmore and Crystal Kaldjob. Their guidance and confidence in my abilities allowed me to take on challenging tasks from the beginning. During my first summer at MoFo, I was given the opportunity to be seconded to a client and work on complex issues that arise in the day-to-day for in-house attorneys. There I drafted internal memos and presented my findings in front of other attorneys. The opportunity, while initially daunting, instilled a level of assurance I feel grateful to have so early on in my career. Thanks to the guidance of my mentors, I recognized that they not only can provide skills-based training but also can instill conviction in one’s abilities. As I returned to MoFo this summer, I was able to build upon this confidence when I was entrusted with other substantial projects, by partners like Demme Doufekias, who ensured I was set up for challenging and substantive assignments throughout the summer.
Mentorship goes beyond partners at MoFo as first- and second-year associates often rise to the occasion, occupying similar roles in mentorship to help develop a young lawyer’s skills-based training. I was fortunate to be paired with Joe Toth, my work coordinator this year, who pushed not only myself but other summer associates to improve our work product in a tangible and efficient way in anticipation of becoming a first-year associate. Joe consistently provided guidance and in-depth feedback on assignments, often encouraging us all to move outside of our comfort zones—critical for any young lawyer. The same can be said for mid-level attorneys, be it Kerry Jones advising me how to fix my time notes or Anthony Carral counseling me on how to maximize my credit card points. At MoFo, the culture of mentorship is pervasive and comforting, allowing one to feel safe asking the necessary questions.
Now as I reflect on both summers at MoFo, I feel lucky to have had a chance on three separate occasions to sit down with Eric McCrath, chair of MoFo. Having several opportunities to put substantive and personal questions to the chair of a law firm of this caliber is seemingly unique, demonstrating that MoFo places great emphasis on mentorship from all levels of the firm and manifests that commitment daily in both promise and practice.
After spending two summers with Morrison Foerster, I can say I have mentors at all levels of the firm, across practice groups, and throughout different offices. Mentorship sits at the cornerstone of professional growth. While I still have much of my legal career ahead of me, I feel confident that my summers at MoFo have provided me the tools necessary to succeed in this industry through a culture of robust mentorship from all levels of the firm.