Hi ladies! Welcome back to another episode of our Coffee Break series (where matcha lattes make their debut because S is currently dreaming of NYC and the masterpiece she had at Chalait, pictured above). As you already know, M and I loved and learned from House of Marbury 1.0 during our law school days. The fantastic content had us coming back for more, but it was the founders of the blog, Kate and Desiree, who had us hooked in the first place. These two were the ultimate girlbosses to emulate as we navigated the scary, strenuous, and sometimes biased world of law, so who better to feature in this series than the founding duo themselves?
First up is Desiree Moore, who is a fellow Loyola University Chicago School of Law alum and a partner at K&L Gates, where she practices commercial litigation and is co-chair of the firm’s Social Media and the Law practice group. Read on to be utterly impressed and inspired by her many, many accomplishments.
Tell us a little about yourself: I am a wife and mother of two sweet kiddos. I am California born and raised, spent 10 years in Chicago for law school and the first nearly 8 years of my practice, and then, in 2014, my family and I moved to the Middle East to work out of the firm’s Doha, Qatar office. I never envisioned visiting – much less living in – the Middle East, but it has been a worthwhile and enlightening experience.
What is your morning routine? My household generally gets moving around 7:30am. We take advantage of slow mornings here in Doha to hang out with the kids, make breakfast, and generally make our plans for the day. We head out of the house by 8:45 or so, and typically get to the office a little after 9.
What does your day look like? Favorite part of your day? As a litigator in Chicago, my days were generally packed. If I wasn’t in court on a status or for argument, I was behind my desk drafting a motion, preparing discovery, or conferencing with clients or opposing counsel. Now, my practice is wildly different. The legal system in Qatar is unlike our system in the United States, and, importantly, only local lawyers can go to court. Thus, my days now consist more of meetings with diplomats, discussions with governmental entities and ministries, and assisting local counsel with case strategy and approach. I have also become more involved in international arbitration proceedings pending all around the world. By evening, the US wakes up, so I am usually planning some sort of firm webinar for the social media group or working with colleagues in Chicago on cases I have pending there. My favorite part of my day is the break I take mid-day to pick up my son. I love seeing him after school – he’s so talkative and loves to tell me all about his day. It’s a nice break – and a reminder of the things that are important.
How do you combat the afternoon slump? By the time I drop my son off back at home, check in on my daughter, and eat a quick lunch, I am rushing back to the office. That rush – and the calls I take in the car – typically jump start me and get me back in gear for the afternoon.
Caffeine of choice? None! Someone said to me years ago that they found it odd that most working professionals were addicted to a stimulant. When you put it that way, caffeine sounds less appealing. I generally try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and I’ve found that now that I don’t drink any caffeine, I am less tired during the day.
How do you create “balance” between your work life and your personal life? It’s impossible. I spoke at the Ms JD conference a few years ago in DC and a fellow speaker said that she doesn’t try to achieve balance – she simply tries to be present wherever she is. That resonated with me. I’m not sure there is any balance in being at work 8 or so hours a day, and seeing my kids for an hour or two in the morning and evening combined. But, I can definitely try to be present when I am home, and present when I am at work, too.
Accomplishment you’re most proud of? I am proud of the book I wrote in 2012 – Thrive, A New Lawyer’s Guide to Law Firm Practice (ABA 2012). I have always gravitated toward teaching and mentoring, and these are all of my best pieces of advice for new lawyers in a form that can reach – and hopefully help and support – a lot of people. I am also proud to have founded the Social Media and the Law practice group at my firm. This is an incredibly important area of the law, and, as it is an emerging and evolving area, it’s fun to navigate as well.
Was there an aspect of your career that didn’t come easy? I don’t think anything comes easy in the law. There is so much room for error. And, as a law firm partner, you have to be technically excellent as well as a strong sales person in order to generate business for yourself and for the firm. These are very different skills and you have to master both. Overtime, I learned that it is OK not to know things. This helped ground me in the early years of my career especially.
Best piece of advice for young lawyers/aspiring lawyers? Do what you love. Go into law if you love it. Stay if you love it. Do something else if you don’t. Life is too short. And if you do decide to pursue law, keep your passions and interests outside of the law. Engage in things that keep you creative, healthy, and connected to something spiritual or charitable or otherwise fulfilling. You will be a more interesting and engaging person, and you’ll be better for it.
Best stress reliever? Date night! And massages.
Favorite organizational tool/office essential? My iPhone, definitely. I have my entire life on that tiny device. I also love to write stuff down on paper – my day doesn’t begin until my to-do list is written down. I also recently spoke at the National Association of Women Lawyer’s Annual Conference and the speaker gift was this amazing, elastic grid organizer that keeps all of the contents of your purse in place. I am obsessed with it! My keys, my pens, my phone charger – they are all appended to this grid and I am no longer digging around to find things.
Piece of clothing most worn to the office/professional wardrobe staple? A grey blazer. It goes with everything, and I can throw it on anytime I need to step up what I’m wearing. I always wear heels, and I have come around on wearing a watch on a daily basis too. My Daniel Wellington is a go-to.
If you could have coffee with anyone, who would it be? Judd Apatow. I recently read his book and I am enthralled by him and his career path and his ambition and . . . everything!
What are you most excited about right now? I am off to London in a few days for an Art Law conference. After the conference, we are planning to spend a few days in London and then Ireland. I can’t wait!
Thanks, Desiree! Check back in a couple of weeks for our interview with Kate and head over to our About section to read more about the founders!