March 01, 2018

Defining Moments: John McKay

Melanie Bragg

One of my favorite interviews for my forthcoming book Defining Moments: Insights into the Lawyer’s Soul was with John McKay, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington and now Seattle University School of Law professor. John was chosen as a Director of the ABA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) by Judy Perry Martinez for her year as Chair of the YLD, 1990–1991. John and I worked together as Directors that year. We focused on our service projects and learning leadership skills in the YLD. John says, “You know what I loved about young lawyers is that we all worked together on things that mattered, and everyone agreed they mattered, especially pro bono work—helping people who are powerless. In the Young Lawyers Division, we did a lot of drinking in the suite, but the thing that brought everybody together was that we had to work on projects that actually helped people. We didn’t say, hey, who’s a Democrat and who’s a Republican. It didn’t make any difference.”

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