Shaelyn Dawson is an associate in MoFo's San Francisco office. Her practice focuses on representing clients in copyright and patent cases in the electronics, semiconductor, and pharmaceutical industries. She has coordinated fact and expert discovery, taken and defended fact and expert depositions, drafted motions in multiparty litigation in federal courts across the country, participated in trial preparation, and questioned witnesses at trial.
Are you an active member of any diverse legal organizations or industry groups? If so, how do you leverage that experience in your practice?
I am an active member of both the Justice and Diversity Center, which provides legal services to low income and under-represented communities, and Equal Rights Advocates, which focuses on equality for women and girls. My time with both of these organizations has led to the tangible benefit of lasting client relationships, as many nonprofit boards and diversity and inclusion groups are staffed (and events attended) by in-house counsel, perhaps by our future clients. Second, being part of these organizations provides a persistent and useful reminder about the value of varied life experiences and perspectives.
How does having a diverse practice group benefit the clients and/or industries you serve?
MoFo's IP Group is known for its cutting-edge and creative representation of clients in fields ranging from life-saving drugs and self-driving cars to complicated software applications. In order to provide the innovative and creative representation that clients expect in complex cases, it's essential to have a diverse team working on the case. This includes everyone from the most senior partner to the most junior associate and staff. By insisting on the inclusion of diverse and underrepresented populations on our legal teams — and encouraging people to be themselves and not a cookie-cutter mold of an attorney — we are able to provide our clients with innovative solutions and varied perspectives.
Can you tell us about any specific situations in which you felt the diversity of your legal team contributed to a positive result?
I am currently working on one case with a diverse team of all women that includes working mom attorneys, LGBTQ+ attorneys, and a Latina American attorney. Our team is incredibly supportive of each other and are able to step in for each other if anything comes up, whether that's juggling our to-do lists, taking a vacation, or taking care of a sick child. Not only does this provide the best results and coverage for our clients, but it also enables our team to offer the client multiple perspectives and ideas from a cross-section of the community.
Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
© Morrison & Foerster LLP. All rights reserved