Donald Cameron Clark, Jr. will become the United Church of Christ's first General Counsel after having spent the previous decade as the denomination's special counsel. Clark's new role begins March 1.
Clark will continue working from his office outside of Chicago. He first began working with the denomination 20 years ago for what was known at the Office for Church Life and Leadership. The UCC didn't have regular legal counsel, but after working in other settings of the church, the denomination retained Clark to advise it on a range of legal issues. Clark successfully represented the UCC during an IRS church inquiry as to whether then-presidential candidate Barack Obama's appearance at General Synod in 2007 jeopardized the denomination's tax-exempt status.
The UCC's Executive Council voted to create the Office of General Counsel position in October, and the officers of the church were asked to find the best candidate to fulfill that role, along with an associate general council who will be based at the UCC's headquarters in Cleveland.
"I'm humbled and honored by the confidence shown in me, and respect the strategic planning that's exhibited in creating these new positions to meet the legal needs of the denomination in the future," Clark said.
Clark earned his bachelor's degree from Williams College and his law degree from Rutgers Camden Law School in 1979. He was a partner in two of the city's largest law firms (Isham, Lincoln & Beale, and McDermott, Will & Emery). He managed his own firm, Clark & DeGrande, before assuming his role with the UCC almost 10 years ago. Clark is also the chair of the Board of Trustees for UCC-related Chicago Theological Seminary.