MoFo's newest class of summer Wetmore Fellows were welcomed to the firm with a kickoff event in our New York office on May 17. The annual kickoff is designed to provide each new class of Fellows with an opportunity to get oriented with each other and the returning Fellows, learn more about some of the firm's practice groups, and receive strategic advice from current MoFo lawyers.
This year's agenda included a variety of panel discussions, workshops, and onboarding sessions. In addition to a welcome breakfast, lunch with managing partner Craig Martin, and a coffee networking break, the Fellows listened in as MoFo lawyers provided helpful advice on how to succeed as an associate and what it's like to be a lawyer in our Corporate, Finance, and Litigation Departments.
"Succeeding as an Associate": Janet Herman – director of attorney recruitment and women's initiatives (moderator); Christina Golden Ademola – NY litigation associate; Robert Webb – SF litigation associate; Mia Akers – LA litigation associate; Jeff Xu – NY finance associate
"Let's Make a Deal": Dario de Martino – NY corporate partner (moderator); Chris Delson – NY finance partner and NY office hiring partner; Ori Solomon – Boston corporate partner and Boston office hiring partner; Tushna Gamadia – NY finance of counsel; Joan Kim – NY corporate associate
"Pitfalls and Communication": Nicole Weber – Great on the Job executive MBA/financial services coach and lead trainer
"Around the Firm in Three Practices: SLEW, IP, Litigation & TTG": Amanda Aikman – NY litigation partner; Jerry Gomez – NY litigation associate; Eric Lin – NY litigation associate; Brianna Liang Velasco – SF TTG associate
In the first panel of the day, litigation associate and former Wetmore Fellow Mia Akers discussed how having a support network, learning to voice her thoughts, and focusing on the positives helped her cure the "imposter syndrome" she felt as a diverse attorney. Fellow litigation associate Christina Golden Ademola echoed Mia's advice, stating that "it's inevitable that you are going to be in a room full of people that don't look like you. But, they also don't think like you or have your background. That's why it's important that you find your voice early and speak up. It's also something that MoFo expects and encourages."
During the "Let's Make a Deal" panel, MoFo lawyers representing our transactional practices spoke about choosing their practice areas, the skills needed for transactional law, and the importance of building relationships. New York corporate associate Joan Kim advised that "when it comes to figuring out the practice area you want to focus on, try out a large variety of projects. You'll know you've found the practice area for you when you look forward to working on specific types of projects over others. For me, that was transactional work."
Now in its seventh year, the Keith Wetmore 1L Fellowship for Excellence, Diversity, and Inclusion recognizes and supports the career advancement of highly motivated first-year law students who are members of historically underrepresented groups in the legal industry.
This year's incoming summer associate class includes 10 first-year law students — along with seven returning 2L Fellows — from the top law schools in the country, and is one of the most diverse yet. Over half are women and over 40 percent are students of color.
They will join our Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, and San Francisco offices for the summer program, which runs from May 20 through July 26, 2019. Over the course of the program, the Fellows will have the chance to participate in a number of diversity events, such as the upcoming D+I Spectrum Speaker Series presentation "Bias in Artificial Intelligence," featuring Coinbase associate general counsel and MoFo alumnus Matthew Ahn.
As part of the summer associate program's regional training, the Fellows will also attend Unconscious Bias training, and a "Spotlight on D+I" program, in which they will have the opportunity to engage in an activity and discussion around the Firm's D+I programs and initaitives. Along with paid summer associate positions, the incoming Fellows receive ongoing mentoring and a Fellowship stipend. Fellows will also meet regularly with the D+I team throughout the summer
The fellowship program was established in 2012 in honor of MoFo chair emeritus Keith Wetmore, who dedicated much of his time to increasing diversity and inclusion within the firm and throughout the legal profession. Our 2019 Fellowship class brings the number of fellowships awarded since its founding to 67.
You can view the full list of 2019 1LWetmore Fellows and returning 2Ls here.