Margaret Muserlian Mooney originally wanted to be a psychologist because she wanted to help solve problems.
But after her experiences with an internship in the field, she decided to switch careers and an excellent score on the LSAT pointed her in the right direction.
“I thought well, what the heck, I’ll go to law school, and I’ll solve problems that way,” said the 75-year-old native of the Syracuse, New York area.
That’s just what she did. After graduating from Columbia University, Mooney, whose father was also an attorney, went to work in trusts and estates for a law firm at One Wall Street in New York City. Later, she’d move into litigation.
A late 1970s move to St. Louis brought her to Lashly and Baer, where she made partner in 1981 near the beginning of a more than four decade-long career with the firm. From anti-trust to construction to securities, Mooney worked hard to help clients.
“I learned through litigation that, a lot of times, people want to be heard,” she said. “They really want someone to understand why they’re upset or angry or feel that they’ve been disrespected. Many times, you just have to help people feel like they are being heard.”
Eventually, she’d put a considerable amount of focus on education both in her practice and her community involvement. She represented the St. Louis Public Schools in a number of cases and currently chairs the St. Louis Community College Foundation Board and is active in advocating for its tax levy.
She’s also a longtime supporter of the YWCA and has been a part of the Women in Leadership and Focus St. Louis programs. From working as a trustee in her neighborhood to being on her parish council to serving on the board of Kids in the Middle and Girls, Inc., community service runs deep for Mooney.
“Outside of her legal career, Margaret has spent a significant amount of time helping support equality, being an advocate for children, women’s rights, eliminating racism, and being of service to others,” writes her nominator. “For over 20 years, Mooney was a member of the Volunteer Lawyer Program and served as the Legal Service’s AIDS Project Coordinator.”
For some time, she acted as an officer for special education due-process hearings in Missouri.
“I veered toward the special education area and worked to try and help the most severely disabled students be able to get the best possible education,” she said.