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Holly J. Moore: I thought I wanted to be a counselor. Then I found law

Choosing a career path can be one of the most challenging decisions a person makes in their life, especially since the critical choice is presented at such a young age.

Holly J. Moore
Photo courtesy Holly J. Moore
Photo courtesy Holly J. Moore

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Choosing a career path can be one of the most challenging decisions a person makes in their life, especially since the critical choice is presented at such a young age. But finding a career that best suits you and your future takes time — and oftentimes, trial and error.

That was certainly the case for Holly J. Moore. Growing up, Holly thought she wanted to be a counselor, which is quite a contrast when compared to her current position as a Southern California-based divorce attorney and owner of Moore Family Law Group

“I think it was when I was a senior in high school, I had to do a senior project where I shadowed someone in a career I was interested in,” explains Holly. “I realized very quickly that I didn’t want to do counseling.”

Although this wasn’t the right fit for her, Holly was still extremely motivated to succeed. A big part of this motivation stemmed from a family tragedy she experienced at a young age. 

“My brother was killed in a car accident when I was 16,” she says. “We had this whole plan for our future and talked about it regularly as kids. And then instantly,  those dreams or visions you had for your future are pulled out from underneath you.” 

After her brother’s death, she attended many grief groups to help her work through her pain. It was there that she learned a very valuable life lesson: Those who have suffered a loss can either let grief get the best of them or they can use it to fuel them and create something great.

“I definitely didn’t want to be in that group that still can’t get out of bed ten years later,” she says. “I wanted to be in the group that whatever difficult thing has happened in their life, they’ve used it for good.”

Ultimately, Holly decided that she would become a divorce attorney. And although she wasn’t sure exactly what drew her to the position at the time —  her parents have been happily married for 50 years and she didn’t personally know any lawyers — she now realizes it was the “power” that attracted her. 

“For some reason, I saw that lawyers had this power,” she says. “Going through something difficult in your life and having your life kind of fall apart, that must have resonated with me.”

While a career in counseling never panned out, Holly jokes that counseling her clients is a big part of her job as a lawyer. Being in family law, she often has to deal with clients who are upset and aren’t always in the right frame of mind. 

“What they need is to feel like somebody cares or to feel like somebody’s listening to them,” she explains. “I have to constantly make sure that I’m centered enough to understand where they’re coming from and that they’re not mad at me. They’re just scared and frustrated at the situation.”

Holly has a strong faith that allows her to have a hopeful perspective, especially when it comes to handling clients. She’s also done a lot of personal development and business coaching over the years to help her understand her clients.

“It’s really taught me a lot more about why people are behaving this way,” she says. “I can help educate them about their own mindset, and having the knowledge myself really helps. I think anytime you’re dealing with other human beings, it’s kind of challenging.”

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Jon Stojan is a professional writer based in Wisconsin. He guides editorial teams consisting of writers across the US to help them become more skilled and diverse writers. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

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