A lifelong Pittsburgh-area resident, Member Jacques Moye has always felt a close connection with his community.
Through numerous community service programs and recently becoming a homeowner in the Hill District of the City of Pittsburgh, Moye has fully immersed himself in the Pittsburgh community while continuing to build his legal practice in mergers & acquisitions, general corporate, and real estate transactions.
Moye recently discussed his career path, including his time practicing as a CPA, and his passion for improving communities throughout the Pittsburgh region.
Let’s start with your journey to a career in law, how did you first decide to pursue accounting?
My older brother attended Slippery Rock University just outside of Pittsburgh a few years ahead of me. He was the first of eight siblings between my parents to finish college, so I really looked up to him. I was majoring in math at the time and he was wrapping up his accounting studies. He showed me what he was doing, and I really liked it and was good at it. I always enjoyed math and working with numbers, but I felt that accounting was something very personable and that relates to everyone’s day-to-day life and so I quickly switched majors to accounting.
When did you realize you could turn that into a legal career?
When you get to your core accounting courses, students review a lot of case studies. In all of these case studies, I realized a common theme: there were always at least three people in the room, the lawyer, the accountant, and a business person from whatever industry the business was in. Thinking about a career and being as marketable as possible, I knew that I could not study and be an expert in all industries, but I could very well be the lawyer and the accountant in the room. I talked with some of my mentors at the time and they agreed, and it was at that point, in my junior year, that I decided that I would be a CPA and a lawyer.
And you knew then you also wanted to go into mergers and acquisitions?
Definitely, the area just seemed sort of edgy and sexy to me, like cutting-edge. I learned from mentors that the best route to the M&A world as a CPA/attorney would be to get my CPA and work in a major accounting firm first, and then go to law school with this experience. This would make me more marketable coming out of law school as it was told to me that, although extremely knowledgeable and talented, most corporate attorneys have little to no business background, and I think that proved to be true for the most part.
At my previous firm, I worked 100% in M&A, but for the past 10 years, I’ve been doing quite a bit of real estate and development work for clients in addition to my continued M&A and corporate work.
You recently built a home in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, could you please explain the community’s cultural significance to the area?
In past times, the Hill District was one of the most thriving cultural areas of the city, and lots of jazz artists got their start and/or flourished here. There were thriving businesses, nightclubs, restaurants, and speakeasies, and the area was a thriving and solid predominantly black community. The playwright August Wilson and photographer Teenie Harris are also from the Hill District. It was a thriving area for a long time because people from all over the world came here to participate in some way in the steel industry. As the steel mills began to close however and areas started to decline, the Hill District went downhill as well and became a bit desolate. Now the area is coming alive again due to directed development efforts and the help of local community groups like the Hill CDC.
How have you enjoyed settling into the area?
One of the things I love most is the opportunity to interact with the young kids in the area who remind me of myself. They bike around and hang out, and once or twice a week, they come by to chat with me in my driveway or on my steps and just ask questions about the house or what I do for a living and how did I get to where I’m at. I tell them that they can be whatever they want to be as long as they stay focused, stay out of trouble and don’t give in to peer pressure, and follow their dreams and passions. I know that’s the type of talk that kept me on the straight and narrow so I’m hopeful that it works for them as well.
I’m always sure to tell them as well that being different is great, and ultimately, if you find something that you’re passionate about and you do it well, then you can have whatever you want in life. It’s great to be one of the people there to be a positive influence on the kids in the community.
What’s a unique aspect of your house?
It’s a totally custom-designed home, from top to bottom. My favorite place is a room that I designed for and dedicated to my father. When I was younger, he would talk to me about different clubs and speakeasies that he’s been to and they all looked amazing with chandeliers and funky wallpaper and such. So when I started to design the house, I wanted to have a room there like this as well. Unfortunately, my dad passed away before the house was finished, so he was never able to see it. This room is where I go to relax and think about the stories he told me. I know in my heart that he sits in here with me with his legs all stretched out on the ottoman and is proud of what I have done.
How else are you involved in the community?
I try to stay as active and involved as I can with my busy work schedule. I’m involved with an organization called Scoutreach as the 2023 chair of its annual fundraising event, the Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award Dinner. Scoutreach, which is a division of the Boy Scouts of America and focuses on bringing scouting to inner-city, urban kids by providing support in the way of dues, clothing, materials, transportation, etc. There’s a lot of research that shows the benefits to kids of participating in scouting, and so I enjoy playing my role in this endeavor to brighten the lives and future of urban youth.
I’m also on the board for Omicelo Cares, LLC, which focuses on empowering community members in low-to-moderate-income neighborhoods to own financial assets, grow their businesses, and lift their incomes. We have different classes that teach members about these concepts. There’s little to no charge to the students thanks to fundraising efforts of the organization. Ultimately, we buy homes, and we allow the graduates to be part of a class of investors in these properties. The properties are rehabbed and rented to tenants, and the graduates get to be owners and part landlords, so they understand and learn how to do that on their own. I really love that organization. They do a great job of teaching the business aspects of investing in real estate and overall general money management.
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