Pine resident named president of Allegheny County Bar Association

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Longtime Pine resident Lori McMaster takes seriously the mission statement of the Allegheny County Bar Association — to empower their members, promote a just, accessible and inclusive judicial system and serve the community at large — and as the new president of the ACBA it’s a mission she’s looking forward to promoting.

“Being an attorney is about being of service and helping people who are often in challenging circumstances,” she said. “We take our calling to stand in the shoes of another person very seriously.”

McMaster became president of the bar association on July 1 and will serve a one-year term. It’s a landmark year to serve, as the organization celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2020. Part of the ongoing celebration of that anniversary, McMaster said, is going to be working in cooperation with the charitable arm of the bar association, the Allegheny County Bar Foundation, to create additional pro bono opportunities for members as well as opportunities to get involved in their communities.

“So for instance if one of our attorneys has children and they’re often at the local baseball field, maybe a committee would decide to spend a Friday afternoon doing some cleanup work at the ball field or doing some painting,” she said.

McMaster knows the public perception of attorneys is not always favorable. She hopes that through their anniversary celebration they can highlight the good work they do and reinforce how seriously they take their responsibility to help others.

“Lawyers have just tons of stories about matters they’ve worked on, whether it be something they’ve done to help a small business, or a family’s been able to avoid bankruptcy, or a family’s successfully gone through bankruptcy and are now back on their feet,” she said. “Maybe it’s a valuable environmental resource that’s been protected or the civil rights of a loved one, perhaps with a disability, that have been upheld and observed as the result of the work of an attorney.”

McMaster was born in Wilkinsburg and also lived in Oakmont and Belfast, Ireland, growing up, as her father completed his doctorate at Queens University Belfast in the 1960s. She and her husband, whom she met in law school, moved to Pine in 1990 and raised triplets, now 25, who graduated from Pine-Richland High School.

A longtime trial attorney, she is now the executive director of the Professional Development Office at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and another of her goals is to focus on strategies to retain diverse law students in Pittsburgh after they graduate.

McMaster was elected president-elect of the ACBA in 2018 and replaces Bryan Neft as president.

“Lori has great instincts on how to approach an issue,” Neft said in a news release. “She is deliberate, well-spoken and works with different constituencies to get things done. The Pittsburgh legal community is in good hands with Lori as president of the Allegheny County Bar Association.”