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Nick McKinney

Nick McKinney

Class of 2018 JD Student

Hometown: Missoula, MT
Undergraduate: University of Montana
Major: Political Science


Growing up in Montana with a father who is a farrier (horse shoer), Nick McKinney learned the value of hard work early on, and while he planned for a career in the Air Force, his love of speech and debate always kept the possibility of law school in the back of his mind.

In high school, Nick played several sports, earned his Eagle Scout award, and learned to fly at age 16. He was also active in the Civil Air Patrol (and he still mentors young people through this organization today). It was Nick's participation in the advanced science research program, though, that perhaps had the biggest impact on his life.

"I met a good friend, who in college became my girlfriend and is now my wife," said Nick.

Nick graduated high school early and went to Montana State University for the Air Force ROTC program, but after a year decided that he wanted to attend law school before committing to the military. He moved back to Missoula to attend the University of Montana's pre-law program and realized quickly that this was the right decision for him.

"I love studying issues that really affect people's lives, looking at them from all angles," said Nick.

When applying for law schools, Nick and his then-fiance looked all around the country, and McGeorge and Sacramento seemed like a good opportunity to see a different part of the country and experience the capital and new cultural opportunities. "When I was offered a scholarship and she was offered a job in her field here, this became the natural place to come," said Nick.

The McGeorge community has been even better than he expected, says Nick. "The professors are so accessible, and my classmates are all willing to help each other out, which fosters a no-competition, easygoing atmosphere that really helps with the entire law school experience."

Nick and his wife like it here so much that Nick plans to stay in northern California after graduation from McGeorge, perhaps in the field of employment and labor law. He also plans to take the Montana bar exam to give him the possibility of practicing there.

Northern California also offers Nick the opportunity to pursue some of the outdoor activities he enjoys, like camping and hiking with his dog Harper, but with a bonus: the temperature. "I really enjoy the warmer weather and not having to shovel or drive in snow!" said Nick.

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