Welcome to the MyShingle profile series featuring Mom-Owned Law Firms where we celebrate mom lawyers who have chosen to own, not loan their talent. One of our two inaugural profiles comes from Cathleen Cooper Moran, a seasoned bankruptcy attorney who has been running her own law firm for 40 years.
The money quote: “Ownership has meant that I could pursue the cases and causes that meant something to me.”
What is your name? Cathleen Cooper Moran
Law School attended and year of graduation. University of California Hastings COL
Name, location(s) and URL of Law Firm. Moran Law Group , Mt. View, CA, www.bankruptcyinbrief.com
How long has your firm been in operation? 1978
Summarize your work experience, if any, prior to opening your firm. .Both as a lawyer or prior to becoming a lawyer. Prior to law school, 5 years in politics and media.
Why did you decide to start your own law firm? Desire for autonomy.
What practice areas does your firm concentrate on? Bankruptcy
How large is your firm? 2 lawyers now; once as large as 5 lawyers
Do you practice full time or part time? Full time
How many children do you have and what ages are they? 2, now 34 and 31
Has becoming a mom influenced your decision to start or continue to operate your own law firm? If so, how? Not really.
What is your marital status? married
If you are married, what role has your spouse played with respect to your practice and mutual family obligations and conversely, what impact has owning your firm had on your marriage and role as a mom? Spouse has been very supportive of a practice that isn’t as lucrative as being employed elsewhere. We both made changes to our work lives to maximize our time with our kids. Being the boss at my work has made flexibility more possible, though a Puritan work ethic makes it hard to do less at work.
What are the pros and cons of law firm ownership as a mom with respect to attaining work-life balance? Motherhood was possible because I had an employed lawyer in whom I had great confidence to watch the store when I couldn’t. But in a small firm, the support system is also small, and the buck stops at my desk.
What are the pros and cons of law firm ownership from a professional standpoint? Ownership has meant that I could pursue the cases and causes that meant something to me. It meant I could spend oodles of time that creating Bankruptcy in Brief and Bankruptcy Soapbox required.
How open are you with colleagues and clients about your family? Do you tell them about your kids? Do you ever use child-related activities as an excuse for changing your schedule, and if so, are you open in sharing those reasons? My office hears about my kids, now grown sons, often. I use stories about my kids’ dyslexia to explain multiple learning channels to staff and clients.
What was your worst or funniest child-related scheduling mishap? I burst from a meeting with a client when my son’s school said he was injured and I needed to come get him and take him to the emergency room.
As a mother who owns a law firm, have you ever encountered discrimination from colleagues or judges or been taken less seriously or treated with less respect? How did you respond? Not that I picked up on.
Would you recommend to other women lawyers who have children to consider starting a law firm – and what advice would you give them? Do it! It’s hard but not as hard I suspect as being an employed lawyer.
If you can, share the name of (or if possible recipe for) one of your family’s most reliable, easy go-to recipes: Tostadas, made with a can of refried beans, whatever left over protein’s in the fridge, onions, salad greens, grated cheese and olives over a crisped tortilla.
Cathleen Cooper Moran is owner of The Moran Law Group and shares bankruptcy information on two websites, The Soapbox and Bankruptcy in Brief. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus.
View more Mom Owned Law Firm Profiles.