Professor Michael Millemann remembers Donald P. McPherson III

Following is a remembrance of Donald P. McPherson III, who died on November 20, written by Professor Michael Millemann.

Donald P. McPherson III, a Model of the Good Lawyer

The Baltimore Sun obituary begins: “Donald P. McPherson III, a retired real estate financing attorney who volunteered thousands of hours representing indigent clients, died” on “Nov. 20.”

Don was a friend of the Law School for over five decades and helped us to create important parts of our clinical and pro bono programs.

In 1976, when he was a partner at Piper and Marbury, the firm, with Mr. Marbury’s and Don’s leadership, helped the school create one of its first clinics, the Legal Services Clinic. The firm funded two clinical faculty members and channeled pro bono associates through the clinic, as co-counsel with students, for over 10 years. Don was a leader of the firm’s management committee for this clinic.

In 1995, when the Clinical Law Program took on the responsibility of creating and representing five of the community centers throughout the city that would implement the $100 million Empowerment Zone grant, Don provided, pro bono, the transactional and real estate expertise we needed initially to make our representation successful. His volunteer work helped us to significantly expand our community and economic development clinics.

In 2009, Don was one of the leaders in helping to create the School’s JustAdvice Project, a project through which lawyer volunteers and law students give brief legal advice to indigent individuals in a variety of legal matters. Don was a cornerstone of this vital project for over 13 years. The Baltimore Sun notes that "Mr. McPherson assisted nearly 1,000 individuals and was working on a legal document for one of his Just Advice clients the evening before he died."

Directors of JustAdvice say “he was a giant,” the “great role model” for students, and “a staple of the project.” They describe how he followed the cases after the initial advice, through “research projects, writing wills and deeds, and spending countless hours providing advice to students and helping them grow into attorneys.”

Phillip Chalker, the current JustAdvice director, speaks for everyone who worked with Don when he says Don was an “intelligent, compassionate, wonderful, generous, kind, patient person, committed to helping clients. He was a friend and mentor to the volunteer attorneys and students alike.”

Throughout his career, Don was the good lawyer we urge our students to become. He taught all of us by his wonderful example. He will be deeply missed.

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