Attorney at Law Magazine sat down with Maurine Shipp – or Mo for those in the know – to discuss her life and career. Shipp is a senior counsel in Clark Hill’s tax and estate planning practice group.
AALM: What drew you to a career in the law?
Shipp: With two attorney parents, I grew up saying I would never be an attorney and never marry one. I ended up doing both within a year. After an intriguing undergraduate class in communication law and struggling to find the right professional fit in my early twenties, I met with a career counselor who encouraged me to consider the law. Once I went down the path I was so glad, and have enjoyed my practice very much.
AALM: Tell us about one of the most important lessons you learned from a personal or professional mentor.
Shipp: I have been extremely blessed to have my father as my main legal mentor, having worked with him my entire legal career. He always says that no client is worth your bar card or reputation — you must do what is right and ethical regardless of whether you lose the client.
AALM: Tell us a little about your philosophy when it comes to your practice. Do you have a personal motto?
Shipp: I always say that people do not generally want to come talk to me — when they do, they have to think about really tough topics such as their own incapacity or death. At the same time, I believe it is crucial that everyone address his or her own estate planning to ensure that their matters are handled the way they would want in those situations. I try to make the process as easy and straightforward as possible for the client.
AALM: How is your practice today different from how you envisioned it in law school?
Shipp: I entered law school not really sure what area of the law would appeal to me, and I tried to be open minded with regard to my legal future. I honestly was not sure that I would practice law, but went knowing that it would never hurt to have a Juris Doctor. I have had the privilege of working with a number of different kinds of clients, and enjoy working with them to address decisions that will benefit them and their families or friends.
AALM: What drew you to your current firm?
Shipp: My friend Maggie Giltner, a member at Clark Hill Strasburger, invited me to have a conversation with the team here about making a lateral move. I already knew that the attorneys in our practice area were knowledgeable, well respected, and very good at what they do. However, I had never had the opportunity to get to know many of them personally. From my first meetings with Marty Roos, David Stanush, and John Round, I could feel the positive energy they exude and the support and respect they have for one another.
AALM: How would you describe the culture of your firm?
Shipp: The culture at Clark Hill Strasburger is equally professional and fun. People work hard to provide exemplary product to clients, and work together toward those common goals.
AALM: As technology changes the practice of law, how are you adapting? Do you believe these changes are good or detrimental?
Shipp: Technology has been great for me overall. One of the best parts for me is with young children in various schools and activities, when I leave the office I am on the run. It is great to be able to stay connected through email and respond quickly to clients. I think it is equally important, however, to turn off the technology on a regular basis and give your brain a break!
AALM: Tell us about a book, movie or event that changed your perspective on the practice of law or your approach to life.
Shipp: I recently read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (also an attorney!). It gave me good insight on little ways I can instill happiness both in my life and for those around me. Little changes can make a big difference!
AALM: Tell us about your ambitions for your career.
Shipp: I intend to stay with my firm as long as they will keep me. I hope to continue my practice with a wide range of clients who need estate planning. My current client base is broad — I work with a number of families with young children as well as business owners juggling different aspects of multimillion-dollar companies. I want to ensure that I continue that mix.
AALM: What are you most proud of professionally and personally?
Shipp: I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to keep my head above water in both my professional and personal life … most of the time. I feel called to do what I do professionally, and balance that calling with prioritizing being available for my family.
AALM: Tell us about your life outside the law.
Shipp: My primary roles are as wife (to Barrett, also an attorney) and mom (to kids ages 7, 4 and 2). My weekdays generally start at 4:45 a.m., when I enjoy early morning workouts at the Tribe Crossfit gym with a great group of encouraging people. With this season of life I spend a lot of time outside the office shuttling my kids to school and other activities, kissing booboos and putting milk in sippy cups, and uttering phrases I never imagined would leave my mouth (“Honey, please get the banana out of your nose.”). We love to spend time at our family ranch in the hill country or visiting our friends at Camp Longhorn (our happy places!).
AALM: Tell us about your community involvement.
Shipp: We are part of an amazing community at Grace Northridge Church in the Northwood area, where you can find me many Sundays teaching preschoolers about Jesus. I love finding opportunities for my children to participate in loving others, and my favorite way at the moment is to volunteer with them at Snack Paks 4 Kids, which provides food on the weekends to kids from food insecure homes. I also assist with school fundraisers, as it is a great way not only to give back to the school community, but to work alongside and get to know other families.
AALM: At the end of the day, what makes you happiest professionally and personally?
Shipp: Knowing that I showed respect and kindness to others; did the best work I could for people; and loved my family well.