First Republic client Barbara Moser is Founding Partner at California based law firm Kaye Moser Hierbaum LLP. Ms. Moser received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, her Masters Degree in Social Work from California State University, San Francisco, and her J.D. from University of San Francisco magna cum laude. She founded her firm in 1995, and today serves as a pro tem settlement judge for the family law Bench Bar program in the Marin County Superior Court, and as a settlement judge in the San Francisco Superior Court, and has served on the board of Kids’ Turn (a non-profit program which helps children whose parents are separated or divorced).
1. When did you realize you wanted to start a law firm?
It was when I returned from maternity leave after my second child was born. I was an associate at a large firm, and realized the big firm model would not work for me with two children at home.
2. What has been the most challenging thing about founding your law firm?
Figuring out whether to keep expanding and hiring, and when it’s time to stop growing; and thinking about my clients, strategy, and my firm 24/7.
3. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Our firm was just notified that we have been ranked by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the 100 Top Women Owned Businesses in the Bay Area; I have also been ranked as one of the Top 100 Northern California Super Lawyers for a few years now, and as one of the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers for several years. The best accomplishment of all, though, is my happy clients, and the long-term relationships our firm has with former clients, who continue to refer us their friends, family members and colleagues. In our field, this is the highest accolade we can receive.
4. What advice would you give to someone with a few years experience as a lawyer who is looking to succeed in this space?
Be honest and forthright with your clients even if you believe the truth might not land you a case, even if the truth is not what your potential client wants to hear.
5. Who has been a role model to you in your life/career and why?
Five people. My mother, who taught me never to take no for an answer. My husband, who was a lawyer before I was, and is always supportive and full of great advice about my career and my firm. My two children, who keep me focused on what is really important in life. And my best friend from childhood, who teaches me every day how to give more to others.
6. If you could improve one thing about the legal industry what would it be?
I would see to it that judges were more highly compensated, so that the Bench would continue to attract our best scholars, as it did more so in the past.
7. What do you believe is your biggest strength that has contributed to your success in this industry?
Honesty and integrity with clients, and an interest in and acumen for business development and marketing.
8. What's the number one mistake people in the legal space make?
Most lawyers (or many) are not interested in or not skilled at business development and marketing. A business cannot succeed without it.
9. What do you think your legacy will be?
This sounds very heady. However, I think I can say that I have provided encouragement and helped many students, both law students and those applying to law school, along the way—to find jobs, and to get into law school. As for my children (and many students who I have counseled and encouraged), I have taught them that the only way to get ahead professionally is to have a great work ethic and to be honest.
The views of the authors of these articles do not necessarily represent the views of First Republic Bank.