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Humans of the U: Michael Meszaros

“As I was coming out of the army, I liked working with people and I had a lot of experience helping soldiers get out of trouble, or recover from getting into trouble. When I was a company commander, my first sergeant was going through a really gnarly divorce. As I was working with him and his lawyer to help him through the process, I realized being a lawyer was something I was really interested in.

Coming to law school has been a really nice change of pace. I like being encouraged to ask questions and use my brain, rather than just being expected to do as I am told. My first year of law school, I fell in love with criminal law. I’ve taken as many public defense opportunities as I’ve been able to, including working with the Salt Lake Legal Defenders Association. I came to law school to help people and I love the way public defenders are focused on helping people take the steps they need to improve, rather than being destroyed by the situation they are in.

During my second year, the Veterans Affairs Justice Outreach Program Services returned to having in-person Pro Bono legal clinics in the Veteran Affairs building near campus. In September 2022, I started running this monthly clinic. This is a unique clinic because instead of being focused on a specific type of issue, we are focused on a specific population. We help veterans or clients with military connections with a variety of legal issues—from accessing veterans’ benefits to criminal charges to landlord problems.

There is a great team of lawyers at the clinic. They have taken me under their wing and been awesome mentors. It’s been a ton of fun to rebuild this community and clinic. It has helped a lot of veterans get their lives back in order.”

— Michael Meszaros, 2023 Student Veteran of the Year, 

third-year student at the S.J. Quinney School of Law