Editors’ Note: As part of our ongoing Faces of MoFo series and in honor of Veterans Week, Matt Blum, an associate in the firm’s Technology Transactions Group, discusses how his experience as an active duty U.S Army veteran and now Major in the U.S. Army Reserve influences his practice at MoFo.
As far back as I can recall I always had a desire to serve in the military, despite the fact that the closest tie I had to the service was limited to stories about both of my grand-uncles and my paternal grandfathers serving in World War II or Korea, and all of whom passed before I was born. My path began to take shape beginning in college when I joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Northeastern University. After graduation and my commission as an active duty officer, I received a service deferment to attend law school. Three years later—and about one week after finishing the bar exam—I was off to the U.S. Army’s Military Intelligence school.
After five years of active duty service as a military intelligence officer, including assignments in Kansas and a combat deployment to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army’s storied 1st Infantry Division—Big Red One—followed by two years in Germany at the headquarters of U.S. Army Europe, I decided to transition to the Army Reserve so that I could move back to Boston to pursue my legal career. After working for a period of time as in-house counsel at a technology company and then as a technology transactions associate at my prior firm, I was offered an incredible opportunity to join the MoFo team and pursue the further broadening and development of my legal skills.
MoFo appealed to me because of its reputation of excellence in the legal profession, which clearly is driven by the dedicated individuals who are a part of the organization. The impression I quickly formed of the attorneys and staff at the firm while I was learning about MoFo was the critical factor that ultimately led to my decision to join the firm. From my perspective, MoFo’s greatest strength is that it is a collaborative and learning environment of very talented and motivated professionals who place total emphasis on upholding our core values and doing what is right at all times for our clients, the firm, the legal profession, and—perhaps most critically as the glue for these other components—each other.
My time in the Army has allowed me to travel the world, build lifelong and irreplaceable relationships (including the most important of all, my wife, who is a fellow service member), and gain invaluable personal and professional values and life lessons. I am fortunate to reap the benefit of these unique experiences, which I apply every single day: The Army Values of Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, and Integrity, among others, are completely applicable to my work and professional philosophy at MoFo. I also appreciate (and always have), first and foremost, organizations that emphasize a team-based approach and that value their people. The phrase “Mission First, People Always” is an often-used phrase I have heard throughout my time in the service, and I have found that this concept works extremely well in the legal profession. This concept is consistently applied by my mentors in the Army and at MoFo, and I always aim to use this same approach as a coach and mentor in my own capacity. Lastly, the Army motto, “This We’ll Defend,” signifies constant readiness to preserve and defend our country—a motto that can be similarly applied to the legal profession in the context of upholding our duties to client service.
For all these reasons, I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities that my Army service and time at MoFo have afforded me. The picture below is from a recent nine-month mobilization to the Middle East, during which time I had to take a leave of absence from MoFo to support aspects of the final year of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.