Morrison & Foerster LLP hosted a recruiting study break for UC Hastings students Dec. 5 in an effort to attract students with science and technical backgrounds for the firm’s unique Two-Summer Patent Programs in Litigation and Prosecution.
The competition is fierce for students with science and technical backgrounds, and even more competitive for those with advanced degrees. Morrison & Foerster, which has one of the strongest patent practices in the country, has developed a recruiting program that spans two summers.
Students who commit in their first year spend their 1L and 2L summers learning “what we would teach first-year associates,” said Lee Anne M. Masetti-Martin, the Patent Recruiting Manager. “We want them to be well equipped to practice from their first day as an associate. In this program, they start their legal careers at MoFo as law students.”
Several UC Hastings alumni have been through the program and are now associates at the firm, nicknamed MoFo. Randy Omid ’11 works in the firm’s San Francisco office. He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering, and previously worked at a wireless telecommunications company. Euborn Chiu ’10, has his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Cornell, and now works on domestic patent prosecution as an associate. Before law school, he worked as an IT consultant at Accenture.
3L Joanna Liebes is a current student who has gone through the Two-Summer Patent Program, spending her summers in the firm’s Palo Alto office. She will join the firm as an associate following graduation in May 2013.
“UC Hastings is a strong magnet for tech students,” Masetti-Martin said, referring to the school’s IP faculty, its IP concentration, and programs such as the Innovation Law Clinics, which give students opportunities to work with high-tech and biotech clients. “We’ve had a really successful run with UC Hastings students.”
Sari Zimmerman, assistant dean for the Office of Career & Professional Development, said Morrison & Foerster is unique in reaching out to 1Ls interested in patent law. “Everyone is fighting over students with technical backgrounds,” she said. “For students with advanced degrees, it’s a relatively small pool.”
Masetti-Martin said the event, which drew scores of hungry students who dined on the complimentary pizza and salad provided by the firm, is also a chance for the firm to highlight its 1L Diversity Fellowship program. The firm awards up to five $15,000 fellowships each year to highly motivated first-year law students who are members of a diverse population that has historically been underrepresented in the legal profession. Recipients receive a paid summer associate position in one of the firm’s U.S. offices, with a guarantee of serving as a second-year summer associate, assuming satisfactory performance.