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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: PublicationsVLSP Merges with the BASF Foundation

Morrison & Foerster Attorneys Rise to the Challenge and Fund, Not One, But Two Scholarships


By Susan Cox, Director of Development


Sometimes, doing the hard thing results in the best possible outcome—just ask Stuart Plunkett, a partner at Morrison & Foerster. He asked his partners to establish a scholarship through BASF’s Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship Program. His colleagues’ response was so generous that two scholarshipsa were established in less than a month.

“Asking colleagues to make generous donations can be an uncomfortable task, but I was compelled by my belief that this is truly a unique giving opportunity,” Plunkett said. “This is something any firm will
find rewarding.”

Dorothy Fernandez was one of eight partners who combined to provide the Morrison & Foerster Partners Scholarship, which was awarded this summer to Edelmira Diaz, who will attend UC Hastings College of the Law this fall. Like the other 2011 recipients, she will receive $10,000 each year of her three-year law school career while she remains in good academic standing.

“I realized this was a way to make a significant difference in a young lawyers life,” Fernandez said. “Our firm has a long tradition of supporting diversity in the legal field and supporting these scholarships with my colleagues was just a natural extension of that commitment.”

James Brosnahan, former BASF President, responded to Plunkett’s challenge by completely funding his own scholarship. The Brosnahan Scholarship was awarded this summer to Antonio Ingram, who will attend UC Berkeley School of Law.

“I asked Jim if he would join in the effort to provide a MoFo Partners Scholarship and he jumped immediately on the idea of funding one in its entirety,” Plunkett said.
Brosnahan’s response was simple, “As so many people helped me when I was starting, now it is a pleasure to help the young ones.”

Penelope Preovolos added, “When I was a young lawyer, women were a minority of the profession. A number of MoFo partners at that time (both men and women) stepped up to mentor me. This was an irresistible opportunity to “pass it along” in the best sense of that phrase.”

Former BASF President Arturo J. González, also mentioned the firm’s tradition of helping those in need and being a leader in giving lawyers of color an opportunity to succeed. “Helping to fund a BASF scholarship is in line with those strong firm values,” he said.

Harold McElhinny added, “We hope to make it easier for promising candidates to bring their unique leadership skills to the legal community for their own benefit, for the benefit of their future clients and for the benefit of law firms like Morrison & Foerster.”

The Morrison & Foerster Partners Scholarship is being funded by: Dorothy Fernandez, Arturo González, Rachel Krevans, Harold McElhinny, Heather Moser, Stuart Plunkett, Penelope Preovolos, and Mike Ward.

Read more about all four of the scholarship recipients.

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