Visiting Professor of Lawyering Skills
Professor McKay will be on leave from June 2013 to December 2014.
John McKay joined the faculty of Seattle University School of Law as Professor from Practice in January, 2007. He teaches Constitutional Law of Terrorism and National Security Law, as well as courses on ethics and leadership.
President George W. Bush nominated Prof. McKay to serve as the United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington on September 19, 2001, and the United States Senate confirmed his nomination on October 24, 2001. He began his tenure as United States Attorney on October 30, 2001, and resigned along with eight other U.S. Attorneys in January, 2007.
Prof. McKay attended the University of Washington, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1978. After working as an aide to Congressman Joel Pritchard (R-WA) in 1978 -79, Prof. McKay earned his law degree at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska in 1982. He was admitted to the Washington State Bar and joined the Seattle law firm Lane Powell in 1982, eventually becoming a litigation partner with that firm. During this time, he was admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
From 1989 to 1990, Prof. McKay served as a White House Fellow, where he worked as a Special Assistant to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C. Prof. McKay then returned to Seattle and joined the law firm of Cairncross & Hempelmann, later becoming the firm's managing partner.
Between 1997 and 2001, Prof. McKay served as the President of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in Washington, D.C. Congress established the LSC in 1974 as a private, non-profit corporation to ensure equal access to justice under the law for all low-income Americans. Prof. McKay's tenure at LSC was characterized by a bipartisan approach to working with Congress, driven by a deeply held commitment to the principle of equal justice.
During his legal career, Prof. McKay has taken on leadership responsibilities with the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Washington State Bar Association. He has been a member of both the ABA Board of Governors and House of Delegates, and has served on the Washington State Bar Association's task forces on Opportunities for Minorities in the Legal Profession and on Governance. From 1988 to 1989, he was President of the Washington State Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division. From 1995 to 1996, Prof. McKay served as the Washington State Chairman of the Equal Justice Coalition.
In 1995, the Washington State Bar Association named him Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year; in 2001 he received the Association's Award of Merit, its highest honor, and following his dismissal as U.S. Attorney, the Courageous Award in 2007. In February, 2008, John McKay, along with his brother Mike, was awarded the prestigious Charles A. Goldmark Award for Distinguished Service for his contributions to equal access to justice for all by the Legal Foundation of Washington.
Professor McKay is a Seattle native who grew up on Capitol Hill and attended St. Joseph's Grade School and Seattle Prep High School. He is the fifth of the twelve children of the late Dr. John and Katie McKay. He is single and greatly enjoys his 28 nieces and nephews.
Seattle University School of Law
Phone: (206) 398.4051
- B.A., University of Washington, 1978
- J.D., Creighton University, 1982
- National Security Law and Constitutional Law of Terrorism