Pinski Young Alumni Award Winner
Do you believe in fate? Greg Pinski does.
In 1999, just like every other third-year student at the University of North Dakota School of Law, he participated in a mock trial. Two days later, he ran into a young nursing student who looked familiar. He recognized her as a juror from his trial, and the pair hit it off.
Just over three years later, Greg, ’96, ’99, and Amber (Monteith), ’02, were married.
“It’s just fate,” says Greg, ’96, ’99. “You look at the reasons why you choose certain paths, and you may not be aware of it but in hindsight it’s crystal clear.”
Six years earlier, Greg’s path had led him to UND, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communications before going on to achieve his Juris Doctorate. As an undergraduate, Greg was a White House intern for President Bill Clinton, Editor of the Dakota Student, and Student Senator. As a law student, he was Articles Editor of the North Dakota Law Review, Moot Court Champion, and earned the highest grade in his Employment Discrimination Law and First Amendment Law class.
“I wouldn’t be where I’m at now if it weren’t for the education I got at UND. All of the things people said about going to a large school never came true. I had personal relationships with my professors, and an intimate class setting,” Greg said. “The university provided me with the opportunity to do the things I wanted to do, both educationally and with extracurriculars. The 6 years I spent at UND were easily the best of my life.”
Today, Greg serves as judge of the Eighth Judicial District Court in Montana’s Cascade County — an elected position. During his campaign for district judge, Greg says he searched for a platform to run on, and wanted one that would make a difference.
“I’ve had more than one person say that I didn’t have enough gray hair to be a judge,” he said. “You have to come up with ways to show voters you’re a serious candidate and that you have ways to make the judicial system better.”
So, he came up with the idea to establish a Veteran’s Court in Cascade County, a special court for veterans in the criminal justice system that focuses on treating their underlying problems like PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and substance abuse problems – with the hope of preventing them from reoffending. Greg calls the court, one of only 100 in the country, a win-win for the veterans who complete the program and the community, which benefits from not having reoffenders in the system. His veteran’s court recently received a substantial grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Greg also serves on an Adult Drug Treatment Court, the Montana Uniform District Court Rules Committee, and the Montana Supreme Court.
His service to his community doesn’t stop with his service to the justice system. He has been involved with the Boy Scouts his entire life. When he was working on his Eagle Scout, he got involved in the Special Olympics, where he has served as Corporate Secretary and Director, as well as Evaluation Committee Chair for Montana Special Olympics. “They are two organizations that are very meaningful to me.”
Greg was the first Montanan to receive the National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award. He has also earned the James E. West Fellow, Scouter’s Key, Den Leader, and Outstanding Fundraiser Awards from Boy Scouts of America. He has served as District Chairman, Finance Chair, and Eagle Scout Board of Review for the Lewis & Clark District, as well as Cubmaster and Den Leader of Pack 143.
Greg is honored on the Dean’s Council of the UND School of Law.
Greg was named Rising Star by the Great Falls Tribune, Up and Coming Attorney by Minnesota Lawyer, Rising Star by Minnesota Law & Politics, and Pro Bono All-Star by Gray Plant Mooty.
Greg and Amber live in Great Falls, Mont., with their sons, James and Jack.