Douglas McKay was a noted Columbia lawyer and civic leader. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1906, receiving an A.B. He then became a legal secretary to Justice C.A. Woods. He was admitted to the Bar in 1908, and later founded McKay, McKay, Black and Walker. He married Anne Lowndes Walker and they had a daughter and three sons, two of whom became lawyers.
While at the University of South Carolina, he was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (ΟΔΚ), played football and coached the 1907 team. He also served as vestryman for the Trinity Episcopal Church, as President of the Rotary Club and Chairman of the Democrats for Eisenhower.
A leader in improving his profession, he served as Chairman of the South Carolina Board of Law Examiners from 1922–31, member of the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association from 1956–60, member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates from 1942–49, a Charter Member of the American Law Institute, Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, President, Richland County Bar Association and a member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial conference and many other associations.
An accomplished trial lawyer, he set a high example of courtesy to his brother lawyers.