Celebrating ArentFox Schiff’s Veterans: Donald Bloch on Going From Military Service to Client Service

Donald Bloch, Captain, US Army Reserve, Artillery

After four years in ROTC at Bowdoin College, Donald earned his commission upon graduation and joined the US Army Reserve Artillery in 1960, starting his military career as a second lieutenant. While serving in this capacity, he obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School. Following the completion of his degree and a summer clerkship at a large Boston-based law firm, Donald was called to active duty.

Why did you choose to serve in the military?

During college, I participated in ROTC for four years and received a commission upon graduation. With the draft in effect at that time, I opted to serve as a commissioned officer rather than an enlisted individual.

What was your path from college through deployment?

I served in the Army Reserve upon graduating college in June 1960, throughout law school from September 1960 to June 1963, and while working as a summer clerk. In November 1963, I was called to active duty, attended Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, from November 1963 to February 1964, and was deployed to Fort Lewis, Washington, with the Fourth Infantry Division. I reverted to Reserve status upon my discharge in November 1965. After spending two weeks at Camp Drum, New York, on active duty as a reservist, I was fully discharged from the Reserve in June 1966.

How did deployment impact you? What do you remember most?

Although deployment prevented me from accepting a Supreme Judicial Court clerkship, I found enjoyment in commanding troops and serving as the battalion commander's adjutant.

What made you pivot to a legal career?

I earned my law degree before joining the Army and chose to serve in the Artillery rather than the Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG) because I wanted an authentic Army experience. I knew that I would be working as a lawyer for the rest of my life after completing my service.

How has your military experience influenced your legal practice?

I gained extensive leadership experience that proved valuable in my practice and as the managing partner of my previous firm.

Any awards or commendations you’d like to mention?

Upon leaving active duty, I received the Army Commendation Medal.