In 1974 John McLinden graduated LLB (Hons) from Victoria University of Wellington.
In 1975 he was awarded the prize as best speaker in the 1975 New Zealand Universities National Mooting Championship, was admitted as a barrister of the High Court of New Zealand, and commenced practice as a barrister in Wellington.
In 1989 he graduated LLM from Victoria University of Wellington. His LLM paper A Deposition Discovery Option For New Zealand was published in the Victoria University Law Review in 1989.
In New Zealand he was a member of various Wellington District Law Society Committees, a Faculty Member of the New Zealand Litigation Skills Course (an advocacy course based on the NITA program in United States) and an inaugural member of the New Zealand Bar Association.
In 1991 John was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the role of the amicus curiae in the United States Supreme Court and he was admitted as a Member of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, and was called to the Bar of England and Wales.
In 1993 he obtained a tenancy at 17 Bedford Row (the then Chambers of Allan Levy QC), and commenced full-time practice in England.
In March 2011 John was appointed one of Her Majesty’s Counsel.
He has taught advocacy in the Inner Temple Advocacy Programme, and has helped organise The New Zealand Lawyers’ Society (an unincorporated body which promotes the interests of New Zealand law and lawyers in the United Kingdom: www.nzls.co.uk).