Michelangelo Macchiarella ’18 has joined the UC Hastings Alumni Association Board of Governors, which serves as a liaison between alumni and the school’s administration. The board provides valuable input on alumni volunteer activities, chapter and affinity group programming, and helps support department initiatives.
“As a fairly new lawyer myself, I understand that searching for the right career and then landing it are the most important tasks immediately in front of a graduate,” he said. “I hope that as a board member I can help guide recent graduates in this journey and help their voices be heard after they graduate, as alumni/ae.”
After earning his JD from Hastings in 2018, Macchiarella left San Francisco for the Big Apple. He works as an associate attorney with the firm Capell Barnett Matalon & Schoenfeld LLP in New York City, where he litigates a wide range of legal disputes – from business law and construction contracts to cases involving religious corporations and commercial landlord-tenant disagreements.
Macchiarella credits his time at UC Hastings with helping him gain the knowledge and confidence to become an accomplished attorney, “UC Hastings provided me with the real-world skills that I believe are essential to a practicing lawyer.”
He said participating in the Individual Representation Clinic taught him how to interact with clients, draft motions, and argue in court. He said, “This experience not only propelled me into a job my second and third years at law school, but continued to guide my post law school career trajectory, as I had more legal experience than other recent law-school graduates.”
Macchiarella did not always plan on being an attorney. He studied Latin and Ancient Greek at UC Berkeley, intending to pursue a career as a college professor. He said he later realized that he could use his passion for research, writing, and presenting to have a different impact on those around him.
“Instead of researching arcane documents and presenting to a select few persons who would be interested in that field, I could research caselaw and present to a judge or jury, potentially making caselaw myself that would change people’s lives, including (and perhaps most importantly) my own client’s,” he said.
His advice to law students: Get jobs as part-time law clerks and find other ways to obtain more practical legal training during law school. “With that experience, you can leverage your way into a good firm, and with enough self-marketing, perhaps even start out with more responsibilities than a candidate fresh from law school who might not have comparable work experience,” he said.