Jim McKay was born in South Pasadena, California. Except for the periods when
he was in college and in the United States Navy, he has been a resident of the District of
Columbia metropolitan area. He is a senior counsel at the Washington, D.C. law firm of
Covington & Burling.
He attended several grammar schools in Washington, D.C., and also attended
Gordon Junior High School and Western High School in that city. He graduated from the
Agriculture College at Cornell University in 1938 with a BS degree. After working for
several years in various agricultural jobs, including that of Assistant Marketing Specialist,
U.S. Department of Agriculture, he sewed for four years as a resewe officer on active duty
with the United States Navy during World War II. His sewice included sea duty in the
Atlantic as executive officer of two submarine chasers. From June of 1944 until the end of
World War II he was the commanding offcer of a 175-foot patrol craft, the USS PC 1596,
operating in the Mediterranean theatre. He resigned his commission after attaining the
rank of lieutenant commander.
While employed as a law clerk by the Covington fm, Jim attended night classes at
the Georgetown University Law Center, receiving an LLB in 1947. He received an
honorary LLD from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1989. He was an Assistant
United States Attorney in the District of Columbia in the late 1940s. As an independent
counsel from 1987 to 1990, he conducted the investigations of Lyn Notkiger, a senior
advisor to President Reagan, and Edwin Meese, the Attorney General of the United States
during the Reagan administration.
For most of his legal career, Jim has been a trial lawyer at Covington & Burling,
first as an associate and later as a partner in that firm. He participated in many trials and
appellate oral arguments, involving civil and criminal cases, in a number of jurisdictions in
the United States. For the past eight years, he has represented veterans on a pro bono basis
before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. He also has represented
parties in adoption, child abuse and neglect, and custody proceedings in the Superior Court
of the District of Columbia. For a period of one year in 2001 and 2002, he was a special
government employee of the U.S. Department of Justice, serving as a Legal Advisor with
the Professional Responsibility Advisory Office.
Jim was Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors of the voluntary
Bar Association of the District of Columbia, as well as a member of numerous committees
of that Association. More recently, he served for six years as a member of the Board On
Professional Responsibility of the D.C. Bar. Prior to that, he served as Chair of a Hearing
Committee of the Board.
He has sewed since the early 1970s as a court-appointed trustee of the George
Preston Marshall Trust, and as president of the George Preston Marshall Foundation, a
charitable organization which, over the years, has made many millions of dollars of grants
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to organizations concerned with the health, education and welfare of children in the
District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.
Jim resides with his wife, Mary Anne McKay, in Chevy Chase, Maryland. They
have three grown children and three grandchildren.