For Heather Rooney McBride, a 2003 Evangel University graduate and founding partner of Rooney McBride & Smith LLC, lessons learned as a music student have served her well in her career as an attorney.
“Dr. Bonnie Jenkins taught me the importance of being fully prepared, musically and spiritually, before every HeartSong concert, as well as the do’s and don’ts of appropriate church platform attire,” said Rooney McBride with a smile.
“I have put those lessons into practice in many areas of my life since — including the practice of law. I built a law firm that provides sophisticated legal representation that is underscored by prayer. The practice of law is not just a job to me; it’s a calling.”
That calling fuels a passion to support and empower other women.
“I spend much of my time speaking to and mentoring young women, particularly those interested in the practice of law,” she said. “Helping young women navigate the ropes of what still is, in many ways, a ‘man’s profession’ allows me to pass on certain learning experiences and tips that I have honed over the years.”
This fall, Heather Rooney McBride will be recognized for following her calling with excellence during Evangel’s Homecoming Celebration, when she is named the Evangel University Outstanding Young Alumna for 2018.
The presentation will be made during the Homecoming Banquet on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m., at the Bass Pro White River Conference Center.
The Alumni Board recognizes that many young alumni have enjoyed significant achievements in the few years since their graduation, although they may not yet have reached the height of their accomplishments. Nominees for the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award are under 40 and have made significant contributions to their chosen field, church, community, state, nation or the university.
Finding her focus
A Springfield native, Rooney McBride started out dual-enrolled at both Evangel University and its crosstown sister school, Central Bible College.
After two years, she stayed with Evangel, and in her third year, her future came into focus. She finished her Spanish program, dropped the music major to a minor, and applied to law school.
“I have only somewhat jokingly told Dr. Randy Tate and Dr. Linda Ligate that their courses (Postmodernism and Music History) single-handedly prepared me for the amount of reading that would be required in law school,” said Rooney McBride.
“In all seriousness though, Dr. Tate’s class was thought provoking and engaged students at a higher intellectual level than any course I had taken previously.
“Similarly, Dr. Ligate’s class was for me a magical combination of beauty and brains in that we listened to stunning music but were asked to become knowledgeable about the historical, sociological and political contexts of each artist.”
In 2003, Rooney McBride graduated from Evangel summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA, and was honored to receive the Outstanding Spanish Graduate award.
While at Drake University Law School, she served as president of the International Law Society and was a member of the Drake Law Review where she received the “Best Drake Law Review Note” award in 2006 for her writing on Guantánamo detainees.
In 2006, Rooney McBride graduated second in a class of 165, with Order of the Coif honors.*
Since returning to Springfield, Rooney McBride has been admitted to practice law in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, representing business clients in commercial transactions and litigation matters, and individual clients in estate planning matters, in each of those states.
She frequently provides continuing education to other attorneys and has been published on various estate planning topics and the right to a jury trial in civil matters.
She has been recognized for her excellence in many ways, including:
- Top Attorneys in Missouri and Kansas Award—Rising Star (2015)
- National Association of Professional Women’s “Woman of the Year” Award (2013-14)
- Missouri House of Representatives Professional Recognition Recipient (2013)
“Heather is a talented lawyer who is truly the best in her field,” said Amanda Kastler, CPA and partner with Elliott, Robinson & Company.
“I have had the privilege of benefiting from her intelligence and her caring and compassionate heart. She serves our community with grace, and she is an inspiration and outstanding example to all professionals.”
The arts & giving back
While that music major may have become a minor, the arts continue to be a source of refreshing to her soul.
“During the 12 years I have been practicing law, I have continued to devote free time to music, including singing in church and community choirs, leading church worship, giving solo and collaborative recitals, and maintaining my piano studio — teaching beginning-to-intermediate students how to play,” said Rooney McBride.
“Supporting the growth and development of the arts in the Springfield community is a big priority for me as well,” she added.
In addition to being an arts patron, she served on the Springfield Symphony Orchestra board of directors for five years, and she presently serves as a board member and board counsel for the Springfield Regional Arts Council.
She is married to Ben McBride, owner of McBride Law. In addition to his law practice, Ben is an adjunct professor for Government and Pre-Law programs at Evangel University.
The couple live in Springfield and have one daughter, Cora Ann.
*SIDEBAR: What are Order of the Coif honors? Learn that and more from this alumni profile video with Heather Rooney McBride.
EU Homecoming 2018 Honorees
Five alumni awards will be given during this year’s homecoming celebration, representing alumni from the three AG schools that consolidated in 2013 — Evangel University, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and Central Bible College. The recipients were chosen by the Evangel University Alumni Association board of directors.
- EU Distinguished Alumnus – Dr. Barry Corey ’84
- EU Outstanding Young Alumnus – Heather Rooney McBride, J.D. ’03
- AGTS Alumnus of the Year – Dr. Dick Brogden ’14
- CBC Distinguished Alumnus – Dr. Mark Batterson ’92
- CBC Outstanding Young Alumnus – George Carballo ’09
For more information, contact Evangel University Alumni Relations Department at (417) 865-2811, ext. 7333.