The State Bar Association of North Dakota Summer 2014 Gavel Magazine - Page 6

NEW SBAND PRESIDENT JACK MCDONALD SEES BRIGHT FUTURE FOR NORTH DAKOTA’S LEGAL PROFESSION Jack McDonald likes to joke that it took him eight years to finish his law degree. He started in the fall of 1962 after earning a journalism degree from the University of North Dakota. But after a year and a half at the UND School of Law, McDonald left to enlist in the military. “The Vietnam War was just starting to heat up and I thought I’d enlist so I could be a journalist in the military instead of waiting to be drafted,” recalls McDonald. He tried to join the Air Force, but a heart murmur was detected, making him ineligible for that and any other branch of the military. McDonald spent the next five years working as journalist, covering the North Dakota legislature for the United Press International news service; teaching journalism at Southern Illinois University; getting a certificate in journalism from the Washington Journalism Center, and earning a master’s degree in journalism from American University in Washington, D.C. He then took on communications responsibilities at the national headquarters of his college fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, in Oxford, Ohio, for a few years. “I thought about returning to law school in Ohio, but getting credit for my previous courses was difficult,” he recalls. So he returned to Grand Forks in 1967 to finish his degree at UND. 6 THE GAVEL President Jack McDonald presenting Liberty Bell Award to 2014 recipient Bill Marcil at the 2014 Annual Meeting. McDonald works fulltime as a lobbyist, That plan was delayed by another year something he has been doing since 1977. when he was tapped to teach a year at the “I really enjoy lobbying,” he says. UND School of Journalism. He finally received his law degree in 1970, and his While he and his wife, Connie, who first work as a lawyer was as an assistant are celebrating their 50th wedding city prosecutor in Grand Forks and at anniversary this summer, the North Dakota I believe it’s important were busy raising their six Legislative Council children, McDonald felt he in Bismarck. He for lawyers and wasn’t able to volunteer in opened his own law professional organizations other professionals practice in 1977 and as much as he would have joined the Wheeler to give back to their liked. Wolf law firm in communities... Bismarck two years “I believe it’s important for later, where he has lawyers and other professionals to give practiced ever since. back to their communities, and serving on the boards of nonprofit organizations “My goal was to practice communication makes a big difference,” he says. “Even and media law, but I realized if I wanted though sitting through the meetings to remain in North Dakota there was not can sometimes be long and tedious, it’s enough demand for that type of work to important that organizations have good be fulltime,” says the Bismarck native. His people serving on their boards.” clients today include several newspapers “ ” and broadcasting companies, and he