Spring 2019 Gavel Spring Gavel 2019 - Page 12

An Ambassador for the UND School of Law: McGinniss named Dean of North Dakota’s law school By Kylie Blanchard, Clearwater Communications As a faculty member at the University of North Dakota (UND) School of Law for nearly a decade, Michael McGinniss is very familiar with both the accomplishments and challenges the school has experienced in recent years. As he steps into the role of dean of the UND School of Law on July 1, McGinniss says he remains steadfast in his commitment to the school and its quality of education for students in North Dakota. “From the time I joined our faculty, I have considered it my responsibility to serve our North Dakota legal community and act as an ambassador for the UND School of Law. I am deeply committed to ensuring the qualities that have made us so distinctive and special among law schools endure for the future of our state.” McGinniss begins his role as dean of the School of Law on July 1. Choosing a Career in Law Born and raised in Milford, Del., McGinniss attended Washington College, a small liberal arts college in Maryland, graduating at the top of his class with a major in English. “In college, I took courses in political science, economics, and constitutional and business law that piqued my interest,” he says. “I cared a lot about issues involving law and public policy and saw a career in law as a way to use my knowledge and skills to make a positive difference. I had also known lawyers in my community growing up, who I greatly admired.” McGinniss attended law school at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., graduating third in his class. He then clerked for Justice Randy J. Holland of the Delaware Supreme Court and practiced law for four years with a private Delaware firm. In 1998, the Delaware Supreme Court appointed him to the position of Disciplinary Counsel, which he held for 12 years. Joining the UND School of Law In 2010, McGinniss joined the faculty at the UND School of Law as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 2014 and received tenure in 2016. He has served as the faculty advisor to the North Dakota Law Review and the student chapter of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies, as well as on numerous committees including chair of the Promotion, Tenure, and Evaluation Committee, vice chair of the Curriculum and Assessment Committee, and member of the Law School Building Committee. McGinniss says teaching and getting to know his students has been at the heart of his experience at the UND School of Law. “The relationships I have formed with our students and graduates have meant the world to me.” “I consider my role as a law teacher to be analogous to that of a fiduciary,” he continues. “Students place trust and confidence in us to care about their learning and to devote ourselves to teaching them effectively, both in and out of the classroom.” McGinniss has been honored annually with the J. Phillip Johnson Faculty Fellow Award, given to promote professional responsibility, leadership, and ethics, both in the legal profession and in the community, and, in 2017, he was elected to membership in the American Law Institute. Among his other honors while at UND are selection as a Fellow of the National Institute for the Teaching of Ethics and Professionalism, the UND Foundation North Dakota Spirit Faculty Achievement Award, and Honorary Member of UND Law’s Phi Delta 12 THE GAVEL