Like father, like daughter-- Attorney follows in the legal footsteps of her dad

By Kathryne Gilbride

Legal News

Growing up to be like her father and practicing law are two things Maureen McGinnis always knew she wanted.

"I was one of those really annoying people in sixth grade that would not only wear a University of Colorado sweatshirt to class, but then I would also just tell everyone about how I was going to be a lawyer," says McGinnis.

The young attorney's career differs from many in that she practices law with her biggest influencer, her father, Don McGinnis.

"It's a different experience," says McGinnis of practicing law with her father, "sometimes I feel bad even for my sisters because it's not something that they'll get to do. We are all real close, but just kind of having that day-to-day interaction, it's a totally different dialogue that you get to have and it's a great experience."

The duo practices law together in Troy at the Law Offices of Donald E. McGinnis. According to McGinnis, she and her father have not run into any challenges since she joined in 2003.

"I worked really hard when I started to make sure I wasn't one more thing he had to worry about at the office," says McGinnis, "sometimes I put added stress on myself, at least at the beginning, to make sure I really had it down and that he was confident that I would be able to handle whatever I was doing."

McGinnis specializes in family and criminal law. Even when not practicing law, she is relaxing with her family. She also spends time with her close friends and boyfriend.

In 2009 McGinnis was elected a councilmember on the Troy City Council and is excited to be a "fresh face" on the team.

"Part of the motivation for running for the position in the first place was just to give back to my community on a major level because I wanted to help shape some of the policy that would bring Troy a new future, change the way that Troy looks, just make it a better place," says McGinnis referring to her new position.

Her passion for travel, specifically to Colorado to visit her baby sister and snowboard, strongly influences her life. In fact, she credits her aspirations for the future of Troy to her experiences in the city of Boulder when she earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

"You have that vision of a city where it's walkable, there is outside, there is art, there is grass and green space, there is stuff to do and there are ways to get around, which drives me nuts about Troy," says McGinnis, "I have this idealistic vision and it looks a lot like Boulder just in terms of the energy and the activity and the accessibility. Those were all things that I thought, gosh if I could get that position on city council I could make the kind of decisions that could ultimately put those things into place here in Troy."

McGinnis hopes to attain her goal of transforming Troy and continues to search for the best way.

"You can have this great vision and I think that's something all leaders need to have, but figuring out how to get from point A to point B is really where you will make your mark."

According to McGinnis, managing time between her new position and hectic work schedule has been the most difficult acclimation. Her understanding father helps ease the chaos by collaborating work and adjusting her hours at the firm.

McGinnis' advice to young aspiring lawyers is to get involved.

"Getting involved opens a lot of doors for you," says McGinnis, "If you make time the benefits will pay off greatly. I wouldn't be where I am if I hadn't just jumped in feet first and gotten involved."

Her career path continues to follow in the prominent footsteps of her father. In September she will become chair of the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section of which her father is a board member.

She credits much of her success to focusing on treating others with respect.

"The more that you can do to treat people with respect and interact with people on a positive level, the better the whole practice will be," says McGinnis, "because it all comes back to you eventually."

Published: Fri, Jul 16, 2010