Michael Chan

JD 13


Tell me something special or interesting about your background before you went to law school.

After college, I went to Beijing, China through San Francisco State's College of Extended Learning. There, I studied at Peking University, taking a variety of coursework on aspects of Chinese culture, such as Chinese film, Peking opera, and Chinese calligraphy.

Why did you decide to go to law school?

My father encouraged me to go because he thought my personality was a good fit for law school. I also worked in the procurement division at Hitachi America right after college, which dealt primarily with negotiating and procuring contracts with various semiconductor vendors. The work I did at Hitachi made me interested in law school.

Tell me something special or interesting about your law school experience.

I was disqualified from law school after my first year. Being disqualified was a hard experience and it made me assess whether I was serious about going to law school. I decided I really wanted to be here and ultimately I wanted to use my law degree to help people.

What is your greatest source of motivation/support as you work towards your JD?

From the academic side, Professor Mark Yates helped me tremendously – he told me what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do to improve, and my grades improved as a result. From the personal side, the friends I made during my first year at GGU were very supportive. They cheered me on and gave me a lot of information on what I needed to do to succeed in my second and third years.

What is your favorite thing you do when you are not at law school?

I love traveling! Sometimes to places not far from home like Muir Woods or Yosemite. I also love international traveling too. I had a blast at the Shanghai World Expo a few years ago.

What message/advice do you have for your fellow law students?

Take advantage of all the "little" things that are out there. Everyone knows about the big opportunities, but tend to overlook the less obvious ones.

Get yourself out there; look for volunteer opportunities; take unique classes that are offered at GGU; keep your eyes out for special or lesser-known opportunities because the "staple" ones will always be out there. And have fun!

If not in law school right now, what would you be doing?

If I was not in law school right now, I would either be working as a district representative for a state legislator, or working for a public interest group.