Days after winning convictions in a high-profile murder case, Senior Assistant District Attorney LaRae Moore confirmed Tuesday that she will be leaving the prosecutor's office this summer.
Moore, 43, has informed District Attorney Julia Slater she will take a job as a partner with Columbus law firm, Hatcher Stubbs. She plans to leave her current job in early July, allowing herself time to wrap up cases she is currently assigned.
"My plan is to get out of criminal except for the occasional criminal case," Moore said. "I do not intend to have a criminal defense practice."
Hatcher Stubbs is a large firm that represents a variety of governmental clients such as the Muscogee County School District. The firm also does civil litigation. One of the Georgia's oldest, the firm has 17 attorneys -- 14 partners and three associates.
"I hope to be doing some medical malpractice defense, some employment litigation defense, maybe some plaintiff personal injury work or any litigation needs of the firm," Moore said. "I am a litigator at heart and I like being in the courtroom. That is what I am good at."
Hatcher Stubbs Managing Partner George Mize said the firm was excited about having an attorney with Moore's courtroom experience, and the transition to civil litigation should be smooth.
"We think it is more difficult to get a lawyer who is comfortable in the courtroom and is a cracker-jack litigator than it is to make the switch from criminal to civil," Mize said.
A Superior Court jury on Friday convicted Shaquille Porter and Dequandrea Truitt in the Jan. 1, 2013, Majestic Sports Bar murder of Charles Foster Jr. As lead attorney for the prosecution, Moore obtained multiple convictions ranging from murder to gun charges on both defendants. Slater praised the work in the Foster murder case.
"It was a big win in and important case," Slater said. "I am glad justice was served."
Moore made a powerful closing argument in the Foster case, admitting to the jury her case was not as strong as it could be and it was because of the "code of silence" among the defendants, their friends, family and associates.
Mize said the talent Moore displayed in the Foster murder trial is evidence of why they wanted her at Hatcher Stubbs.
"There is an art to litigation that you acquire from experience in the courtroom," Mize said. "Not everybody would be willing to take the risks she took last week. But that is exactly what we are looking for."
Moore, who has been practicing for nearly 20 years, is in her third stint as a prosecutor in the Muscogee County District Attorney's Office. She joined the office about a year after Slater was first elected in 2008. She ran unsuccessfully for Superior Court judge against incumbent Art Smith in 2012. She also was on the Judicial Nominating Commission's short list when Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Smith to the bench a year earlier.
Slater said Moore has done "a great job" as one of the senior prosecutors.
"I certainly wish her the best," Slater said. "I always want the employees in our office to do what is right for themselves and their families."
Slater said that Moore will be difficult to replace.
"It is a combination of things, really," Slater said. "The first thing is she is a fabulous prosecutor. But she is also ethical, and she is a leader in our office."
Slater said the lengthy notice will allow Moore to wrap up cases and pass along those that are not concluded in an orderly fashion.
"The fact that she made it so long is a testament to her and her work ethic," Slater said. "She will be able to explain things to the next person who gets a case so that we don't miss anything for our victims."