David McGarr is an associate in Tressler's Insurance Practice Group in our Chicago office. David focuses his practice on a wide range of insurance coverage and litigation matters. He is passionate about helping clients resolve matters efficiently and is committed to providing exceptional client service.
David received his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and his J.D. from Northwestern University.
Where are you from?
I was born in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, but I grew up in Itasca, Illinois, a small town just west of Chicago. That said, I think I have a right to call myself a “Chicagoan” because I went to high school in the city.
What was your first job?
My first job was as a “stage technician” at Washington University's theater in St. Louis. I worked there on and off for a few months, until one day, I found myself at the top of a two-story-tall ladder, staring into a stage light as hot as the sun, expected to do something...with a wrench? That’s when I decided that making money from volunteer experiments at the university lab sounded a lot better.
Do you have any hidden talents and/or unique hobbies?
I have played guitar since I was 11 years old, and I think I’m pretty good at it. The artists that inspired me to play are Metallica, Coheed and Cambria, Avenged Sevenfold and other big metal acts. I also enjoy putting together cosplays.
David cosplaying as Jim Carrey's Ace Ventura.
David cosplaying as Pokémon's Ash Ketchum.
What is on your bucket list?
I’d like to see all my favorite bands live at least once. Luckily, by the end of this summer, I’ll have achieved that. I recently saw Avenged Sevenfold, my first of five shows between now and September, and the season is off to a great start.
Why did you decide to become an attorney?
I decided to become an attorney because of my father. He has been a criminal defense attorney since I was a child. When I was 17, he took me to the courthouse to watch him represent a client. The client was a young man, really closer to a boy, with a bright future in chemistry. The client had made a mistake due to mental health issues.
When the judge called his name, he walked up before the bench with my father, shaking. I watched my father place his hand on the boy’s shoulder, and the shaking stopped. My father spoke for him, explained his issues and asked the judge for probation rather than a conviction, so that he could receive the professional help he needed. The judge agreed and gave the the client probation. I wanted to go to law school because of that day.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
The first thing I do in the morning is check my email. That way, during my morning routine, I have time to organize my thoughts on what tasks are expected of me for that day, and prioritize accordingly. I’m fortunate enough to have an express bus route to the office right next to my apartment, and I have some time to read documents on the way to and from work. Depending on the day, I’m usually drafting a pleading, a memo or a correspondence with a client or opposing counsel and reporting to a partner to give an update or ask for guidance or confirmation on an issue.
Why did you choose your areas of practice?
Insurance coverage practice is certainly not where I thought I’d end up when I started law school. However, during my last job search, I communicated frequently with my career advisors at Northwestern University. After spotting a few insurance practice positions, I asked what my advisors thought about them. They encouraged me to pursue them because insurance practice involves practically everything.
At my first week at Tressler, I discovered they were right. I was, and continue to be, surprised by the sheer breadth of types of business that I am working on. Before speaking to my advisors, I was afraid that an insurance coverage position might be boring. I quickly found that being bored is the least of my worries.
What do you like most about Tressler?
What I have enjoyed most about my time here is how the attorneys I work under seem to intuitively understand what I am and am not yet prepared for while also constantly pushing my boundaries so I continue to learn. They strike the right balance of “holding my hand” and “throwing me in the deep end."
What has been your favorite project to work on at Tressler?
My favorite project has been working on a multi-district litigation. For a new attorney, it’s essentially a turbo-course to learn as much as you can in a short time.
What are you most proud of, personally or professionally?
I'm most proud of finishing law school during the pandemic. I had just spent four years in St. Louis and was excited to return to Chicago. I would be near my parents again, and I would be near my then-girlfriend, now fiancé, after years of long distance. And, of course, I would be studying in the halls of Northwestern University. I spent one semester studying hard, meeting new people and enjoying time with my loved ones. Then, the pandemic hit. I was no longer taking in-person classes, I couldn’t spend time with anyone and my mental health was at an all-time low. Committing myself to studying was difficult. I persevered, performed well, graduated and now I’m exactly where I want to be.
Do you have a funny career story?
The funniest story from my career occurred at the investor protection clinic at Northwestern University. I was fortunate enough to be in a class with two good friends of mine. Of course, anyone who knew me knew that I loved all things anime and cosplay-related. So imagine my surprise when, on the very first day of the clinic, the professor walks in and says, “Well, let’s get right to assigning out these cases to you all. First one…do any of you go to those anime convention things?” My two friends smiled and wordlessly raised their hands to point at me. The professor says, “Oh good. You’ll take our first case then. The client is the convention runner and and he has a dispute that needs to be handled.” Sometimes the pieces just fall into place.
I called the client later that week so he could walk me through what happened. At first, he was trying to explain what his convention is about. I stopped him to let him know that I was already thoroughly familiar. He was surprised to learn I was every bit of a geek as he was. I’ll never forget the end of our call. I asked him, “What’s your favorite new show?” He said, “David, I run an anime convention. I don’t have time to watch anime!” After I got off the phone, I decided to call my mother to let her know that all that time watching those cartoons had been good for something after all.
David McGarr can be reached at email@example.com. Learn more about our attorneys by visiting www.tresslerllp.com/attorneys.