Michelle Gonzalez earned joint degrees, JD and MPA, from University of California, Berkeley School of Law and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She earned a B.A. in American Studies from Occidental College.
Ms. Gonzalez grew up in Los Angeles and attended public schools. Her policy work experience prior to graduate school included voter registration and political campaigns in largely minority communities and policy research for a non-profit children’s advocacy organization. She was awarded a fellowship by the California State Senate and worked for State Senator Art Torres. After completing her joint degree, Ms. Gonzalez began her legal career in Seattle as an associate with a civil litigation law firm, Schroeter,Goldmark & Bender, litigating employment and social security disability matters in state and federal courts. After four years in private practice, she became a trial attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the Seattle District Office, representing employees who had been discriminated against on the basis of gender, race, national origin, and disability. She clerked for Federal Magistrate Judge Monica J. Benton in the Western District of Washington, and taught civil rights courses as an adjunct faculty at Seattle University School of Law.
Her professional volunteer work includes having served as Board President of the Northwest Justice Project, the largest not-for-profit legal services organization in Washington. She served on the Judicial Evaluation Committee for the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington, and has served as a mentor to new attorneys. She frequently speaks on the importance of diversity and inclusion and professional mentorship.
From 2011 to 2015, Ms. Gonzalez was an Assistant Dean at the University of Washington School of Law, heading the Center for Professional and Leadership Development. She teaches courses on the intersection of law and policy. Her courses include: Policy Implementation and the Law; Policy, Law, and Equity; and Negotiations and Mediation. She has lived in Washington for 23 years with her spouse and two children.