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August 17, 2022 - MoFo Life, MoFo Pro Bono

Why Mentorship Makes a Difference – Afi Blackshear

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Any lawyer-in-training knows that mentorship is essential to the development and success of young lawyers. Yet, good mentorship is hard to come by. Not at Morrison Foerster, where the opportunities to find mentors are endless.

First are the mentorship circles where all summers are paired with a group of mentors. I was fortunate to have Christin Hill as my partner mentor and Bryan Osorio as my associate mentor, plus Mike Burshteyn as my work coordinator (turned mentor). The four of us met at lunch on my first day of work, and I learned about their careers, their practice areas and interests, and how they have balanced work with their personal lives. But that was only the beginning. Those lunch conversations laid the foundation to scooter rides in the city with Mike, where we discussed our crypto cases, hikes in Oakland with Christin, and tennis Sundays with Bryan (dream team).

Of course, finding mentorship is not limited to the formal pairings of the summer program. In fact, my mentee relationship with Christin started serendipitously at my favorite summer event, Sailing on the Bay, back when I was a 1L Wetmore Fellow. The annual sailing event is optional, but I could not tell given the turnout of associates and partners that wanted to meet the summer class. Even if showing up meant getting splashed and soaked by towering waves (which is as good of an icebreaker as one can get).

I have not taken the bar or even graduated law school yet, so it is safe to say that I owe any success that I have had in my early career at MoFo to the mentoring relationships that I have formed during the summer program. My mentors ensured that I was set up for success. They provided guidance and in‑depth feedback on assignments, and advice for how to approach various workplace scenarios that are not intuitive. While the expectations are high, these relationships helped me overcome the intimidation of seeking out new and challenging tasks. This meant drafting motions and memos for clients, trying out new areas of law like securities and crypto litigation, and perhaps finding my legal passion for litigating Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claims. I promise, the TCPA is more interesting than it sounds, and I only know that because of the mentorship I received from Melody Wong.

There is still plenty more for me to learn, but the support system I cultivated because of MoFo’s mentorship culture has given me the confidence to excel. I’m leaving this summer feeling lucky and excited to rejoin the firm next year.