Lackawanna County Lawyer Michael J. McDonald to Serve as Immediate Past President of the Pennsylvania Bar Association

HARRISBURG, Pa. (May 1, 2024) — Lackawanna County lawyer Michael J. McDonald, a founding partner in the Scranton law firm of McDonald and MacGregor LLC, will become immediate past president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) at the conclusion of the association’s Annual Meeting May 10 in Hershey.

As immediate past president, McDonald will continue to serve as an officer on the PBA Board of Governors.

A major achievement McDonald undertook during his presidency was forming the PBA Technology Committee as a professional tool to help lawyers incorporate efficient technological strategies into their practices. The committee aims to help lawyers solve legal problems and improve office management, marketing efforts, client communication and data management. In addition, the committee is available to assist judicial and legislative branches, other bar associations and community groups on issues where the law and technology intersect. One of the ongoing projects of the committee is addressing the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots, such as ChatGPT, on the practice of law.

In addition, McDonald initiated the PBA’s first series of online town halls. In August 2023, “Chat With the President” aimed to enhance transparency regarding the association’s activities, share McDonald’s leadership goals to “make good lawyers better” and offer members an opportunity to ask questions. In October 2023, his second town hall, with local bar presidents and bar executives, McDonald updated bar leaders on PBA activities and welcomed their ideas on strengthening ties between local bars and the PBA. In April, “Chat With PBA Young Lawyers,” outlined goals for young lawyers and how they can make an impact on the future of the PBA. McDonald also continued the work of the PBA Taskforce on Statewide Electronic Filing, which was started by 2022-23 PBA President Jay N. Silberblatt.

Within the PBA, McDonald is a member of the Aeronautical and Space Law, Civil Litigation, Solo and Small Firm and Workers’ Compensation sections. He also is a member of the Bylaws, Finance, Health Care Law, Investment, Law-Related Education, Membership Development and Minority Bar committees. McDonald is a past co-chair of the Bar Leadership Institute, past co-vice chair of Strategic Planning Committee and a past member of the Minority Bar Committee Diversity and Attorney Conference Sponsorship Subcommittee. He received a PBA Special Achievement Award in 2015 for his leadership and service.

McDonald is a former vice president and a Commonwealth Club member of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the PBA. In 2013, McDonald established the foundation’s Joseph T. McDonald Memorial Scholarship Program that annually provides a $3,000 scholarship to a full-time, third-year Pennsylvania resident involved in the Penn State Dickinson Law trial advocacy program.

In his local bar association, McDonald is a former president of the Lackawanna Bar Association and its Young Lawyers Division. He received the association’s President’s Award for outstanding service to the legal profession. He also is a past president of the Federal Bar Association, Middle District of Pennsylvania Chapter; past president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers’ Association; and past governor of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association.

McDonald has been chosen for certification and/or membership in the National Board of Trial Advocacy, the National Board of Civil Pretrial Practice Advocacy, the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. He is recognized as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer and listed in Best Lawyers in America.

Active in the community, McDonald has served as vice chair, Audit Committee chair and a member of the board of directors for Fidelity Bank, a community bank based in Dunmore. He also has served on the board of trustees for Scranton Preparatory School, board of directors for the Holy Cross School System of the Diocese of Scranton and Meals on Wheels of Lackawanna County and Lackawanna Pro Bono Inc., which provides legal services to low-income residents. Lackawanna Pro Bono honored McDonald with its Robert W. Munley Distinguished Service Award in 2022.

McDonald is a graduate of Villanova University and Dickinson School of Law, which awarded him the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award for distinguished achievement in trial advocacy.