D. Michael McBride: The Man Behind the Advice
You May Have Read His Column—Now Learn More About “Dear Mike”
By Michelle Wolfe
You may be familiar with the column “Dear Mike,” but D. Michael McBride III is more than just your average lawyer.
McBride is a native of Oklahoma, where he currently practices trial and appellate law in federal, tribal, and state courts with a special emphasis in federal Indian law. Yes, that’s “Indian law.” For the last year and half, he has been a director and shareholder of the law firm Sneed Lang, P.C., located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He started there as an associate only six years ago. McBride became a director of the firm two and half years ago.
McBride graduated in 1993 from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, where one of his main concentrations was federal Indian law. While in law school, he also attended Oxford University, Queens College, in the United Kingdom for their European and Commercial Law Summer Program. During law school, he achieved numerous honors, including the Academic Achievement Award for Land Use Controls. McBride clerked for Chief Magistrate Judge Arvo Q. Mikkanen of the Court of Indian Appeals and was a judicial legal intern for Justice Yvonne Kauger of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. He also was the editor of the American Indian Law Review. Prior to attending law school, McBride attended Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where again he was active in numerous societies and received honors.
Since law school, McBride has continued to be extremely dedicated to and active with various associations. As I spoke with him, I had to ask, “How do you have time for all this?” For instance, in addition to acting as general counsel to Indian tribes in Oklahoma, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, New York, North Carolina, and California, he was also appointed, on May 17, 2003, as the Supreme Court Justice of the Pawnee Nation for an eight-year term. He currently serves as a justice to the Kaw Nation. He was also counsel of record for two cases in the Supreme Court of the United States representing amici curiae Thlopthlocco Tribal Town and Sac & Fox Nation.
Besides litigating, McBride finds time to be an active speaker and teacher concerning federal Indian law to lawyers, judges, law students, tribe leaders, and the general public. Furthermore, he has written numerous articles and book reviews. And don’t forget his work as “Dear Mike” for the ABA GPSolo New Lawyer.
McBride is active in the Federal Bar Association as the national vice president for the Tenth Circuit, a member of the National Professional Ethics Committee, and a board member of the National Indian Law Section. He is also a member of the American Bar Association, as well as the Oklahoma Bar Association, where he is currently the vice chair of the Diversity Committee and chair of the Indian Law Section. Over the years, he has held various other leadership roles within the associations. McBride is also active in the Tulsa County Bar Association, Oklahoma Indian Bar Association, Native American Bar Association, Cherokee Nation Bar Association, and Muscogee (Creek) Nation Bar Association (just to name a few: I could go on, but I think this shows you his dedication and enthusiasm for his job). Over the years, he has received awards and recognition, with his most recent being the John S. Athens Leadership Award. Moreover, he has an A-V rating from Martindale-Hubbell.
With all that said, does he have a life outside of his career? Believe it or not, he does. He loves to spend time with his six-year old son, Michael McBride IV. He also enjoys learning about wine and wine countries. Furthermore, he recently completed his first triathlon in Austin, Texas, which included swimming, biking, and running.
Just listening to all his accomplishments and activities is very inspiring. However, the most impressive thing I found about him was the reason he became interested in Indian law. McBride relates that he loves Indian art and culture, and that he doesn’t think that tribes have gotten a fair shake. The career path he has chosen is personally gratifying, and he believes that we should all do something we love and enjoy, because life is too short. I think in this busy world, and hectic life of law, we should all take a moment to think about this.
I was once told that if I went law school, there would be many different opportunities for me. All the young lawyers out there should take some advice from Michael McBride, and choose a career in law that you enjoy and have a passion for. If you do so, then just maybe you can strive to achieve half of his accomplishments.
Michelle Wolfe was a paralegal who went to law school. A graduate of the Widener School of Law in Delaware, she practices in a four-person firm in Carbon County, PA. In her spare time she raises horses. She may be reached at email@example.com .