Michael Dueñas: practicing law to make the world a better place

Michael Dueñas JD '16 credits UMass Law's Immigration Law Clinic as a transformative experience in becoming a successful lawyer.

Year: Class of 2016
Program: Juris Doctor
Hometown: Ontario, California
Next steps: Union attorney/representative

Public interest law: to make the world a better place

There was no single reason that made me go back to school and study law. At the end of the day, I wanted to go back to school and obtain a degree that would help me become a better advocate.

That is one of the reasons I decided on UMass School of Law: it is a public interest law school that attracts like minded-people who want to make this world a better place. 

Service: the Peace Corps & organized labor

After graduating from UC Riverside, I joined the Peace Corps. I served two years in Costa Rica as a youth development volunteer.

After the Peace Corps, I started working for organized labor. I worked with Service Employees International Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. I am a firm believer in an employee’s right to collectively bargain for wages, working conditions, and benefits.

A world-class legal education

I made life-long friends and colleagues at UMass Law, but I am eternally grateful for my experience with the Immigration Law Clinic. There is where I learned how to be a lawyer. The clinic's professor, fellow, and coordinator were instrumental in making sure that I was a successful lawyer and advocate. The clinic functions like a small law firm, and I truly believe that the experience I obtained there has given me a world-class legal education.

Next steps: union attorney/representative

After graduation, I will be returning to work in a field that I am the most passionate about, organized labor. I will be working as an attorney/representative with a union that represents federal employees. I will start shortly after I take the bar exam. I would not have been able to have this job without all of the support I received at UMass School of Law.

More information

UMass School of Law

UMass Law: Immigration Law Clinic

School of Law, Features Leadership & Service, Features Commencement