August 2013 Bar Bulletin
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Profile / Heather Morado

Mastering Her Instrument

By Jonathan Feil


One passage in The Republic by Plato should be required reading for law school admissions officers. In discussing the ideal education for an ideal state, Plato wrote that "musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul."

Furthermore, the violin - Heather Morado's chosen musical instrument - is quite a beast to tame, requiring patience, determination, persistence and hard work. These qualities are key insights into Morado's growth as an entertainment and intellectual property lawyer in the 10 years since she graduated from Seattle University School of Law, culminating this spring in opening her solo practice and being named a "Rising Star" in the Super Lawyers survey of the best young Seattle lawyers.

A Tacoma native, Morado grew up with the example of her father, a government lawyer first in the Army JAG Corps and currently regional chief counsel for the U.S. Social Security Administration. But working in the haven of a large organization was never Morado's aspiration. As one of her professional mentors advised, early in her career, the only job security that she would ever get as a lawyer is the kind that she created for herself.

Turning down a partial scholarship at the Eastman School of Music (one of the country's top conservatories), Morado majored in comparative sociology at the University of Puget Sound, with a minor in music. After a year's break from school working as a welfare-to-work case manager in the Americorps program and playing violin professionally in the evenings as the youngest member of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, she entered Seattle University Law School.

In law school, it became clear early on to Morado what areas she liked and wanted to pursue. Intellectual property interested her from the beginning, and although there was no entertainment law class during her time in law school, she took most of the "IP focus area" courses. Morado also worked in two internships, at the Experience Music Project and KCTS, organizations that had not hired legal interns before she knocked on their general counsels' doors.

Graduating in 2003, Morado encountered few job opportunities as a new lawyer for what she wanted to do. Taking any contract attorney gigs she could get, she also sought out mentors to point her in the right direction. These practitioners remain close professional and personal friends.

One of the most enduring pieces of advice, from patent lawyer John Branch, was that if she didn't have a vision for her career, she would go where the wind blows and that the wind might blow her into a corner where everyone runs out screaming. She determined to take control of her career and find her calling as a lawyer. Pursuing a career as an entertainment lawyer became Morado's mission.

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