We Are Morgan Lewis 2019

Here the people of Morgan Lewis share their stories, reflect on their histories, and embody the firm’s commitment to inclusion, innovation, collaboration, engagement, and well-being. While we celebrate what makes us unique, there is one thing that unites us all: We Are Morgan Lewis.

Sharing Some of Our Favorite 2019 Memories

No matter the time zone or the language, the 10, 9, 8… countdown to “Happy New Year!” is an opportunity to reflect on the year that’s ending, the hopes for the next one, and the excitement in that shared moment of celebration. As we wrap up 2019, we’ve created a countdown of our own, highlighting moments throughout the year—from all over the world—that brought us together, spread joy, and illustrated what is important to us as a firm and as a family. From all of us, to all of you, Happy New Year!

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A History of Serving Our Nation

This year’s national theme for Hispanic Heritage Month is “Hispanic Americans: A History of Serving Our Nation.” Here, a few of our people share the stories of their families and friends who helped build and continue to enrich the history and culture of the United States.

Lisa Rodriguez | Associate, Los Angeles
Not many grandchildren can say they attended their grandparent’s high school graduation, but I can. My grandfather, Cruz Samuel Lopez, left school early to serve in World War II, but at the age of 71, his high school in Boyle Heights, California, held a special ceremony for all veterans who left school to join the war. I had never seen him look so proud. After the war, he returned to Los Angeles, started his family, and the rest, as they say, is history. His selfless service to the country he loved so much—and which has given our family so much—inspires me to this day. (Pictured: Lisa Rodriguez’s grandfather)
Felipe Alice | Partner, Houston
My roots run deep in Brazil, where all of my family still resides. My older brother is a banker in São Paulo, one of my sisters is a federal labor judge in the state of Mato Grosso, and my other sister is a dentist in my hometown of Porto Alegre. I served as a lieutenant in the Brazilian Army and practiced as a lawyer prior to moving out of the country. I’m the only one who set my sights on the United States, coming here to study in 2003 and staying to work as a lawyer, because I believe this country is at the forefront of the international legal services industry. Now I have a baby girl and twins on the way, and they’ll get to embrace the United States and pursue their own opportunities as US citizens. (Pictured: Felipe Alice and family)
Monica Pedroza | Associate, Chicago
My grandparents are from Jalisco, Mexico. They came to the United States through the bracero program to work on the railroads, in exchange for which they received green cards. Once they were established in the United States, they started a family, having seven children and now 20 grandchildren, including four of whom have served in the US military. My grandparents taught me the Spanish language, my Hispanic heritage, and my faith. I hold those traditions, values, and language very close to me. (Pictured: Monica Pedroza and grandparents)

Morgan Lewis Foundation Diversity Scholars

Five years ago, Morgan Lewis took its commitment to diversity and inclusion one step further by creating the Morgan Lewis Foundation, which awards academic scholarships to diverse second- and third-year law students. Each year, we are inspired by the stories and passion of the students who become Morgan Lewis Foundation Diversity Scholars. Regardless of the path they take, we know the legal profession is in good hands with this group of future leaders. Here, this year’s class reflects on what the scholarship means to their legal careers.


Community Well-Being

Morgan Lewis has a longstanding commitment to supporting the unmet needs of the most vulnerable in the communities in which we live and work and the nonprofit organizations that aid them. As part of our 10th annual Community Impact Week, we partnered with more than 100 organizations around the world to complete 175-plus service and other activities to further the well-being of our communities.

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Media Module - Datasource Item: 2019 Community Impact Week North America

Mentoring the Mentors

At Morgan Lewis, mentorship is not a one-way street. When women share their perspectives, struggles, and advances with one another, we all grow stronger. As just one example, Firm Chair Jami McKeon hosted Lerato Thekiso of South Africa, founding director of Thekvest Legal Advisory Services, as part of an annual program led by the US State Department and Fortune’s Most Powerful Women. In this video, they talk about the importance of the program, having visible women world leaders, and what mentoring brings to them.

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Black History Month

Sharing what inspires them, the leaders of our African-American/Black Lawyer Network recommend several books about the people shaping today’s history.

Jocelyn Cuttino
Jocelyn Cuttino on Becoming by Michelle Obama
“Becoming” is an inspiring behind-the-scenes look at the Michelle Obama we all yearned to know during her years as First Lady. It’s a testament to resilience and growth, motherhood and community, but most of all to being your authentic self. It’s a reminder that no matter how many times we swerve, we can always get back on track.
Terry Johnson
Terry Johnson on No Free Ride: From the Mean Streets to the Mainstream by Kweisi Mfume and Ron Stodghill
“No Free Ride” is the quintessential American success story: it’s about how a man who came from nothing and who started down the wrong path was able to reinvent himself to become a successful and influential public figure. It’s about the triumph of the human spirit and how if you put your mind to it and put in the work, you can accomplish anything. My favorite quote from the book is “it's not how you start in life that counts, but how you finish."
Brent Hawkins
Brent Hawkins on Make It Plain: Standing Up and Speaking Out by Vernon Jordan
"Make it Plain: Standing Up and Speaking Out" is a collection of notable speeches Vernon Jordan, esteemed civil rights attorney and former Executive Director of the National Urban League, has given throughout his illustrious career. I think my favorite speech is his eulogy for Thurgood Marshall (the father of my colleague, Morgan Lewis partner Thurgood Marshall, Jr.), in which he said that Thurgood Marshall "showed that the law could be an instrument of liberation" for black Americans, "rather than an instrument of oppression." I think that’s particularly apropos in today’s turbulent times.

When Pro Bono Work Hits Home

“It’s the most important work I’ve ever done.” Our lawyers echo that sentiment again and again when talking about their work on pro bono matters, especially when it comes to reuniting families separated at the southern border. Here two women, lawyers, and moms share the stories of the people whose children were taken from them and the fight to get them back.

Holding Hands
Holding Hands