CLINTON — For more than 14 years, Judge Gary McKenrick has served the Clinton area in the Clinton County District Court.
Now, the Low Moor native, has decided to hang up his robes and return to his first passion in life — practicing law.
“I’m at an age now where I still have those things available to me so I’ve decided to get back into practicing law and have joined a firm in Davenport,” McKenrick said.
Before being appointed as a judge at age 36, he spent 10 years at a private practice law firm in Davenport. Although he handled a variety of different cases as a general practitioner, his specialty was litigation, which is what he will return to when his retirement as a district judge begins on Dec. 1.
While working as a judge in the Clinton County District Court system has had its rewards, McKenrick said he is excited to get back into the world of being an attorney.
“I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve done as a judge. The job is interesting and there’s challenges, but it’s very rewarding too,” McKenrick said. “(But), the benefits definitely outweigh what I’m leaving behind.”
He is also thankful for his time on the bench for allowing him to be active in his kids’ childhood. Now, that they are adults with children of their own, he is ready to get back into the full time work of private practice.
But, with the long, strenuous hours of being a lawyer, McKenrick will have to give up some of his free time that he used to spend pleasure boating with his wife and dog, and reading autobiographies.
It is all worth it for McKenrick, to get back into what he truly loves to do.
“As a judge you take what’s assigned to you and what the lawyers bring to you,” McKenrick said. “As a lawyer, I can choose which assignments I want to take and which I don’t, and to me that’s worth it. I intend to practice law for the next 10 to 15 years.”