Law Clerk

Michael C. McDonald, J.D.

A recent addition to the McDowell & Associates, Attorneys defense team, Michael McDonald brings a wealth of experience that is uncommon for someone at this stage of his legal career. He is currently working as a law clerk while awaiting his certification to practice law.

Michael graduated from University of San Diego School of Law in May 2013 and passed the July 2013 California Bar Examination. After completing the Bar, Michael worked as a Graduate Law Clerk in the Criminal Division of the San Diego Office of the City Attorney. In this role, Michael prosecuted criminal cases including DUI, theft crimes, drug/paraphernalia possession, prostitution, and a host of other misdemeanor crimes. As a Graduate Law Clerk, he advocated on behalf of the State in trials, earning convictions on all counts and sharpening his skills presenting argument to the court, examining witnesses, and speaking to juries. He also learned all of the nuances and strategies of different types of criminal prosecutions, enabling him to bring a keen knowledge of how prosecutors strategize to the defense team at McDowell & Associates, Attorneys.

Prior to his work in prosecution, Michael worked for a year as a Certified Law Clerk for the County of San Diego Office of the Public Defender. In this role, Michael represented many felony and misdemeanor defendants in court during preliminary hearings, motions to suppress, and sentencing hearings. Michael earned success in his advocacy, having a charge of burglary dropped at a preliminary hearing and having another client’s sentence reduced by two years. He also advocated for clients during felony arraignment proceedings, and wrote successful motions, including a motion to sever a client’s trial from the trial of his codefendants on the basis that prejudicial evidence would come into the codefendants’ trials that was not relevant to the client’s case.

During law school, Michael very actively gained legal work experience while also being a full-time student and leader in extra-curricular activities. Michael worked for an entire school year in University of San Diego’s Legal Clinics, assisting clients with their matters in small claims litigation and state sales and use tax. Michael also was a member of USD’s Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot team, serving as Vice President and competing in the international arbitration competition in Hong Kong, where he and USD advanced in the tournament for the first time in the USD team’s history.

Michael focused his law school coursework on his favorite area: legal advocacy. Michael excelled in the classes of Evidence, Criminal Procedure, and Advanced Trial Advocacy. Along with his role on the arbitration moot team, Michael also competed in Moot Court tournaments and mock trials. All of his experiences in legal advocacy have provided him with a sharp eye for identifying the holes and strong points in a case and developing the strongest legal defense possible.

In his spare time, Michael enjoys sports, hiking, going to the beach, playing guitar, and spending time with family and friends.