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Chris Urruela-Stauss, a second-year Harvard Law School student, shares his experiences as a 1L Diversity Fellow at Morrison & Foerster. MoFo awards up to 10 fellowships to law students who are members of historically underrepresented groups. For information about 2014 fellowships, visit MoFo’s career site.

What sparked your interest in MoFo?
I participated in the SEO program the summer before law school. At a panel about law firm hiring, Chris Delson explained how he had been converted from a die-hard Californian to a New Yorker by the people he had met at MoFo. As a loyal Californian myself, I was curious what made MoFo so special. After speaking with a MoFo SEO student, I had a great impression of the firm.

What impressed you?
The student’s feeling that she was “at home.” Everyone was approachable, friendly and eager to provide her with opportunities to learn the ropes. That was something that I wanted, and I wasn’t disappointed. From day one, everyone welcomed me. I felt like I’d found a group of friends as much as a group of work colleagues.

Describe some of the projects on which you worked.
On the corporate side, I helped prepare stock option grants for a startup, then had the chance to visit its headquarters. I also was invited to co-present a seminar about entrepreneurship. I rounded things out by preparing a memorandum of understanding for a strategic partnership between two startup non-profits before doing some work with mature companies.

On the litigation side, I researched and helped develop a communications strategy to protect a client and other stakeholders in an FCPA investigation. When I expressed an interest in exploring patent litigation, two partners immediately brought me onto their teams.

What did you most like about your summer experience at MoFo?
The feeling that I wasn’t punching a clock. I was spending time exploring interesting intellectual issues, surrounded by people whom I considered both friends and colleagues.

What did you take away from the experience?
A better appreciation of the dynamics of working at a law firm with teams of varying sizes.

Why are you returning to MoFo as a 2L summer associate?
The people, the atmosphere and the opportunities to do great work kept me interested and engaged. MoFo is a great place to be for the long haul.