Adma Moura’s path from au pair to PI attorney
Published in 2022 Connecticut Super Lawyers magazine on October 3, 2022
In 2003, an au pair from Itaúna, Brazil, mentioned to her Connecticut host family that she wanted to intern for a law firm. The request was less unusual than the fact that the au pair, Adma Moura, already had a law degree.
In Brazil, the law program is a five-year journey that begins immediately after high school. “In America, you can spend undergrad considering law,” Moura says. “In Brazil, you need to know fast.”
Moura knew. The daughter of farmers, Moura saw how they, and others, struggled. “I realized if I became a lawyer, I could help people like them,” she says.
She was also deeply interested in American culture and the English language after becoming certified as an ESL teacher in Brazil at age 15. “My parents somehow managed to send me to a private ESL school, and I had a great command of the language,” she says. “After I graduated law school, I thought, ‘Before I start work, I want to go to America.’”
Thus the au pair work. After the request, her Connecticut host family contacted a lawyer-relative, other calls were made, and Moura soon began a four-month stint at Ventura Law in Danbury, providing translation services for Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking clients. “I loved everything about it,” she says. “Even the way they filed cases fascinated me.”
When she permanently moved to Connecticut in 2006, Ventura welcomed her back, where she worked as an administrative assistant, an intake specialist and a legal secretary on the way to senior paralegal. “But my real dream was to go to an American law school,” she says. “When I got into UConn, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.”
The law school models are quite different, she adds. “In Brazil, it’s very lecture-based, then you go home and study the day’s work,” she says. “Here, you better show up and be ready to be called on.”
Moura tears up remembering her parents coming to Connecticut for her 2014 graduation. “To see my mother here, it was surreal,” she says.
Now Moura practices personal injury law at Ventura, where many of her clients come from Danbury’s Brazilian, Portuguese and Spanish community.
“One of my clients, a Brazilian woman, had tried to work with an insurance company on her own, and eventually lost all trust in the system,” Moura says. “I handled her case and got four times the original offer. But it was more than that. This woman had someone who could speak the language, who had that shared history. That’s what makes it worth it for me.”