Meet Our 2016 “Young Professional of the Year”

Katherine Morneau

Photo credit: Allegra Boverman Photography

Photo credit: Allegra Boverman Photography

What inspired you to pursue a career in law?

At an early age I was told I should be a lawyer because I was good at arguing; specifically, with my younger brother. I attended the Young Lawyers of America conference where we got a tour of the U.S. Supreme Court. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of pride standing in front of that building knowing that I would someday be part of the legal profession.

Describe what a typical day in your life as a busy young professional looks like.

In family law, every day is different. One day I could be in Court helping my client obtain a Restraining Order and the next I could be in mediation working collaboratively to resolve a parenting dispute. At Morneau Law we work together and have a great time doing it! I can often be found at a Board Meeting or a networking event in the evenings. Like many young professionals, I love to get out and meet the members of our amazing community.

Who do you consider to be your mentor and why?

I have had many amazing mentors throughout my career. When I decided to open my own law firm five years ago, I talked to every lawyer I could about the pros and cons. I primarily turned to two very close friends and fellow family law lawyers, Jane Schirch and Cathy Shanelaris. They gave me the encouragement and inspiration to open my own firm and run things the way I wanted to.

How do you make sure to set aside time for yourself? What do you like to do in your free time?

I try very hard to fit in fun time and my husband is a great help with this. We work at Bretton Woods Ski Patrol on the weekends. Nothing feels better than heading to the mountain after a hard week at work and finding fresh powder waiting for you!

What types of positions are available to someone working towards their law degree?

When I went to law school I never imagined doing any else with my law degree but be in Court. Once there I realized that the majority of my classmates did not want to be in Court and had different plans for their degree. Many went on to be professors, some wrote books and others worked in nonprofit organizations.

What advice would you give a recent college graduate who is eager to start their professional career?

I believe that there is no more rewarding work than being a lawyer (I know many may dispute this but I’m certain). I see people at their worst and have been given the knowledge of how to help them up and back on their feet. The best part of my job is when someone comes in to meet with me for the first time and they leave saying, “Wow, I feel so much better.” A recent grad should think about what they are passionate about and find a way to bring that into their career.

We know you love the Granite State, so tell us:

What’s your favorite “hidden gem?”

NH’s food co-ops are one of my favorite hidden gems in NH from Hanover, Concord, Keene, Littleton, etc. We are so fortunate to have so many farms and producers in NH. It’s great to see how each community creates a unique co-op based on their needs.

What’s your favorite restaurant and item on the menu?

I am a huge fan of Republic in Manchester. As the first restaurant to receive “certified local” status from the NH Farm to Restaurant connection, they led the way for the local food movement. Get the hand-cut frites (with fried capers) and any fish special, you will not regret it!

Where’s your favorite place to get away for the weekend?

Littleton. I grew up there and love to go back for the weekends. Littleton has the best downtown in NH. It has everything you would want: an old time movie theater, the world’s longest candy counter at Chutter’s and tons of cute shops and restaurants.

Ice cream or pizza? Where do you go to get your favorite?

Tough choice! I am going with pizza and my favorite is Flatbread Pizza (Conway and Portsmouth). They have a vegan pizza, which is a rare treat, but pretty much anything on the special board is sure to please!

Which city/town in NH have you yet to visit but look forward to when time presents itself? What do you want to do once you get there?

I can’t imagine an area in NH that I haven’t been to but I’m going to say that one of the places I want to explore more is Errol. I love our NH State Parks and try to get to a different one each year. Mollidgewock State Park is next on my list as my husband and I are learning to fly fish with help from my dad.

Do you prefer the sunrise or the sunset? And where in NH do you catch the best?

I am a morning person so a sunrise is the best way to start the day in my opinion. I rearranged my bedroom so my bed faces a wall of windows where the sunrise can wake me up. You also can’t beat a Hampton Beach sunrise.

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