Moez Kaba Talks Diversity with Benchmark Litigation

Benchmark Q & A with Moez Kaba

Moez Kaba is the youngest partner at one of the country’s premier trial boutiques, Hueston Hennigan, a Los Angeles-based shop formed by a group of former Irell & Manella commercial litigation partners. The firm has earned considerable traction in the legal community via some high-stakes and high-profile appointments. Kaba, a co-founder of the firm, reflects both the firm’s approach as well as the cultural and generational shift in the US litigation landscape. In this Q&A with Benchmark’s Michael Rafalowich, he discusses these issues at length.

You are one of the youngest, if not the youngest, partner at your firm, yet you are one of its founders. Was the generational depth a business model mandate upon the formation of the firm or did it just happen organically?

The generational depth at our firm was both by design and by chance. A small core group of us worked together at our prior firm on high-stakes disputes for our business clients. There we came to value each other as colleagues and friends. When we launched our own firm, we brought together a deep bench of young, talented lawyers who shared our vision for a trial litigation practice. We take tough and interesting cases for commercial and public and quasi-public clients. At the same time, we maintain a commitment to pro bono work.

We focus heavily on training young attorneys.  They are prepared and confident in front of judges and juries. I’m the youngest partner, but not the youngest lawyer at the firm by far. The most senior partner, name partner Brian Hennigan, graduated law school 30 years before me. Our other name partner, John Hueston, graduated law school in the 1990’s. That speaks to type of firm we are. We have tried to match vigor and new approaches with experience and perspective. Ours is a tough practice, a demanding practice, with creative, hard-working people on teams that span the generational spectrum. And I think this sort of diversity increasingly mirrors the legal departments of our clients.

It seems as though your generation of litigators is not only bringing a fresh perspective in terms of age but it also seems to be a notably more diverse crop than that of 15 or even 10 years ago. Have you noticed more diversity among younger partners?

Definitely. It’s exciting to see so many terrific lawyers who look different and have different experiences but share a passion for the law. I think that’s also a product of law schools and the firms themselves, both of which are fostering a more diverse recruiting environment.

This is also driven by client demand. Clients are increasingly holding firms accountable for assembling diverse teams. You see the same thing at the U.S. Attorney’s office. What’s most promising to me is that these are the people who will get jobs in government and be appointed to the bench. Diversity in law firms today results in more diverse public leadership tomorrow. I am proud, however, that Hueston Hennigan’s partnership itself is majority diverse.

Click here for the full interview.

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