Celebrating Women’s History Month with the stories of inspiring Lake and Sumter County women has brought messages of resilience, perseverance, tenacity, breaking the mold and defying the odds.
Danielle Moore’s success story has been 20 years in the making, starting with the ambition to write her own story and define her own legacy.
The attorney for the Lake County Public Defender’s Office talked to UWLS about her journey from a teenage mother determined to provide and lead by example for her daughter, to the successful and inspiring woman she is today.

 

What brought you to where you are today? What obstacles have you overcome?

I always wanted to be an attorney. That was my dream at 17 years old. Then, life happened.

I became a single mother at 18, just three weeks shy of my 19th birthday. I knew once I became pregnant, that I needed a college education so my daughter and I would have a better life. I began working on my associate’s degree at Lake-Sumter. It took four years instead of two, because I was a full-time mom and I had to work.

Once I finished my A.A., I changed my major from political science to elementary education, because I needed a career that would allow me to have the same schedule as my daughter. Once I obtained my bachelor’s, I began teaching at a local school. It took three years of teaching to know that I had made a mistake in changing my major. I took the LSAT and applied to law school. I began law school at FAMU College of Law in 2013.

I worked full time as a teacher, was still a full-time mom, and started going to law school in Orlando part time at night. For two years, I drove to school four nights a week.

The last two years, I was able to take classes only two nights a week, which made life so much easier. In 2017, I graduated. I waited five years to take the Florida Bar exam. Reason being, I wanted to enjoy the rest of my daughter’s childhood. I told myself when she graduated high school, I would take the Bar.

When my daughter left home for college, I applied to take the Bar and started studying. I had been a teacher for 12 years, but I knew that was not what I wanted to do the rest of my life. It took almost a year of studying, and two attempts at the exam, but I finally passed and became sworn in as an attorney. That’s when I applied to work for the Public Defender’s office for the Fifth Judicial Circuit in Lake County. I have been employed there since October 2023 as a Misdemeanor Attorney.

On this 20-year journey of finally obtaining my dream, I have had to overcome many obstacles. Being a single mother, working full time, and going to school at night was no easy task. There were times in law school when I did not have anyone to watch my daughter, so I took her to school with me. Many nights, I would not get home from work and school until midnight, and then I would have to get up the next morning at 5 a.m. to do it all again.

 

Who is a woman who is an inspiration to you?

My mother was an inspiration to me. She is so strong-willed, smart and confident. She taught me to never take no for an answer and to work hard in all that I do. She always encouraged me in everything I did. I always have always looked up to my mother, and I am so thankful that she taught me how to be a successful woman.

 

What would you say to inspire other women to reach their goals and break barriers?

I would say that if I can do it, anyone woman can. There is a statistic that only 2% of teen moms will ever acquire a college degree by the age of 30. I obtained my B.S. degree at the age of 26 and my law degree at the age of 32.

I beat that statistic by never giving up and facing my challenges head on. I worked hard, had many sleepless nights, and persevered in the end. People told me once I had my daughter that I would not be able to achieve my goals, and I proved them wrong.

I would say to all the young women and moms, “You can do this!” and “Don’t ever take no for an answer!”

 

What have you done that you hope inspires other women?

One thing that I have done that I hope would inspire other women, is to not be afraid to make a change. I changed my career after 12 years. I was not happy and decided to make that change. It was scary, and it was not easy. After 12 years of teaching, I was comfortable in my field. However, I knew that I was unsatisfied and needed to leave to do what I dreamed of doing.