Alumni Spotlight: Brendan McKinnon

The BC Law Impact blog is running a special series of alumni interviews featuring former Impact bloggers.

What are you doing now? / What was your path to your current position?
I’m serving as General Counsel at an Independent Power Producer focusing on battery storage and solar energy development. I previously served as an Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex County, which was a great opportunity to get immediate litigation experience after graduation.

Something you wish you did while at BC?
I wish I had spent more time on the main campus and taken advantage of everything the larger university has to offer. I saw Attorney General Eric Holder speak, went to a few football and hockey games, and took the obligatory Bapst study break, but I probably ventured to Chestnut Hill ten times in three years. The law school is such a tight community that it’s easy to forget you’re part of a world-class university with amazing resources. Take the five-minute bus ride and enjoy it.

What did you do at BC that is most useful to you now?
There’s nothing better than experiential learning, and BC has tremendous opportunities to get out of the classroom and actually practice law. I did the Immigration Clinic with Prof. Holper as a 2L, and the SCOTUS Experience with Prof. Greenfield as a 3L, and I still rely on something I learned from those classes every single day. Whether it’s real-world legal research, brief writing, or oral arguments, a clinic gives you a chance to get reps and gain a deeper perspective on what you really want to do with your law degree.

Favorite class and why?
My favorite class was American Legal History with Professor Bilder. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in cases and outlines as a law student, but that class was a refreshing look at the entire legal profession and it gave me a much greater appreciation of our roles and responsibilities as lawyers. Nobody has ever asked me about the Rule Against Perpetuities, but any time there’s a major SCOTUS decision or a high-profile case in the news I get questions from family and friends (get used to everyone you know asking for free legal advice). ALH gives the historical, political, philosophical, and social background of law and policy that helps you truly understand our profession for those conversations.

Favorite study spot on campus?
If I actually wanted to study it was the top floor of the library. If I wanted to convince myself I was going to study before spending three hours staring at a closed casebook and talking about the Patriots with friends it was the couches in the Yellow Room. Make plenty of time for both.

Favorite study break activity?
The daily lineup of speakers, panels and presentations at BC Law is unrivaled, especially with the Rappaport Center on campus. You can learn so much about different practice areas and opportunities for lawyers by popping into those during free periods, and if you get there early enough you won’t get stuck with half of a veggie burrito.

Best piece of advice for current students?
Take advantage of your time with your classmates. Law school is a grind, your summer experiences are extremely impactful on your professional future, and you ultimately get like nine hours to enjoy graduation before you roll into bar prep. You need to make time to catch your breath, and you’ll never get the opportunity to spend this much time together again. Go to Bar Review, play softball, sign up for the ski trip (even if you don’t ski). The people are what makes BC Law special, and the friendships you make in Newton will carry you through your career.

Brendan McKinnon is a 2019 graduate and a former regular Impact contributor. Read all his posts here.

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