John McDonald’s slogan could be: “Youth is served.”
At home, the attorney with Godfrey & Kahn SC has a 5-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son.
At work, McDonald, who focuses on mergers and acquisitions, is the co-chairman of the emerging companies practice group, which he helped create to get young businesses off the ground.
Among the companies he has helped launch are MyHealthDIRECT, Golden Angels Investors, AquaMost and Erik Buell Racing LLC.
“There’s a real energy within the start-up community,” McDonald, a George Washington University Law School grad, said, “and I enjoy working with entrepreneurs. They’re really invested in their companies. They really care.”
McDonald in fall 2012 helped organize the inaugural “StartUp Weekend Milwaukee,” which brought together entrepreneurs, mentors and expert speakers. He is planning a repeat of the event in November.
McDonald’s focus on young people and young businesses also extends to his volunteer work. He is the board president and an instructor for Make a Difference Wisconsin, which offers financial education to young people.
Make a Difference began by working with only Milwaukee high school students, but has grown to include students from schools outside the city and is now branching into the Fox River Valley.
If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what would you have done?
I was very close to becoming a carpenter.
What is the best part of your job?
The people. Here at the firm, everyone is smart and fun to work with, and the clients are fascinating. I love the entrepreneurial spirit, among the people I work with and outside the firm.
What famous person would you most like to have a drink with?
There are a lot of serial entrepreneurs out there I think it would be fascinating to sit down with, like Richard Branson. Or, on the legal side, Clarence Thomas.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Keeping up with all the changes and intricacies of the law. Thankfully, at a big firm, we have expertise across the spectrum, so as long as I can spot the issue, the answer’s just a phone call away.
What trait do you most like in others?
Inventiveness, ingenuity and perseverance
What is the first concert you went to?
The Steve Miller Band