Michael is a lawyer in Santa Monica for startups that develop technologies for sustainable consumption.
"Make a list of 25 cool things you want to do before you turn 25. Just having the list will make you more likely to do those things. My list includes “plant a tree,” “perform something in front of people,” and “learn how to cook one signature meal.” What’s on yours?"
Law school graduation! June 2019.
My career roadmap has been somewhat defined.
I joined the Boys and Girls Club in Canyon Country when I was 8 years old. I continued going there until I graduated high school and was involved in leadership and community service activities there.
My first job was at the Starbucks on Valencia and the Old Road near COC. I learned a lot about myself there, and a lot about people, and I wrote about my experience as a barista in my college application essays. I knew I wanted to work somewhere I could make friends and help people.
When I applied to college, I was confident I was going to Harvard, and when I didn’t get in, I was absolutely crushed (ask Mr. Wilhelm). It took me a while to get over that disappointment. In hindsight, my educational path wouldn’t even have been possible if I hadn’t gone to Berkeley!
I graduated from Berkeley when I was 19, and moved across the country to New York City to start law school at Columbia three days later.
After a year in New York, I transferred to Stanford to be closer to my family and to be closer to the tech scene, which I’ve always been interested in. At Stanford I added a master’s program in Environment & Resources.
I graduated in June 2019 at 22, having travelled to 5 continents in the preceding two years, made tons of friends and learned a lot about myself and the world. I took the bar, passed(!), and started working as a start-up lawyer.
Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway
DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Worked at Starbucks -- great first job!
Volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club and was President of the Magic Keystone Club.
Ran the Political Science & Debate Club at AOC.
Interned in the office of Congressman Buck McKeon.
DURING MY COLLEGE CAREER
Interned in the office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, where I got to help solve constituents’ problems with the federal government -- major influence on my decision to go to law school!
Helped my classmates solve their legal problems at the Berkeley Student Legal Clinic -- another big influence in my decision to go to law school.
While in law school, I volunteered with ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, contributing to litigation efforts on behalf of refugees and immigrants. I also worked with the International Refugee Assistance Project to guide refugees through the byzantine and outrageously unjust American immigration system.
In grad school, I was a teaching assistant for a class called New Frontiers and Opportunities in Sustainability, which was essentially a speaker series with really cool entrepreneurs coming to share their outlook on sustainable business, government, and art.
While in law school, I served as the Executive Editor of the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, and wrote papers about renewable energy microgrids and the future of electric vehicles.
What I'm currently doing/hope to do
I’m a lawyer for technology start-ups in Santa Monica, CA, and I work with a lot of cleantech companies -- i.e., companies who are developing technologies that will help us work, play, produce and consume more sustainably. I’m passionate about the environment and politics and I’m grateful I get to work with entrepreneurs who share my vision of our great society of the future. Happy to talk about careers in law, technology or sustainability -- hit me up!
How to maximize my time in high school?
Advice #1: You’re going to hear the word “no” a lot. Get used to it, and try not to get discouraged. And definitely don’t let fear of “no” prevent you from applying for something you want. Always apply.
Advice #2: Be assertive. I wouldn’t have accomplished much of anything if I hadn’t learned early on to advocate for myself. Know that people want to help you -- you just have to give them the opportunity to do so.
Advice #3: Make a list of 25 cool things you want to do before you turn 25. Just having the list will make you more likely to do those things. My list includes “plant a tree,” “perform something in front of people,” and “learn how to cook one signature meal.” What’s on yours?
Advice #4: Surround yourself with people who are cooler than you and smarter than you. You’ll have more fun that way.
Advice #5: Kick that procrastination habit NOW. It only makes things harder. Speaking from experience, unfortunately.