September 25, 2022
September 2022: Michael Vargas
Michael Vargas (he/him)
Partner, Rimon, P.C. (Silicon Valley); Adjunct Professor, McGeorge School of Law; President, ACS Sacramento Chapter
My career didn’t start in the marble halls of a courthouse or the gilded office of big law. My career started in a tiny studio apartment, in a residence hall, responsible for keeping a couple hundred or so college students out of trouble. I started out as a higher education administrator at USC, focused on student development, educational equity, and supporting young people through one of the biggest transitions in their lives. Like many administrators, though, I got burnt out, and decided to try something a bit more cerebral. Law school gave me the opportunity to continue to pursue my passion for equity and community building in a different venue, and it was there that I learned about and got involved with ACS.
After a brief stint at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and working for a Judge on the U.S. District Court in Minnesota, I got a job working in Silicon Valley. My job meant working with Tech companies on corporate finance, mergers, and acquisitions. But I quickly developed a specialty in corporate social responsibility. Since the mid-2000s, corporate social responsibility has been a growing area of law. In the mid-2010s, I started working with benefit corporations, and in the process helped found the Benefit Company Bar Association and the ABA’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.
In 2015, I started teaching at Santa Clara University School of Law as a Lecturer. Originally, I taught a startup law seminar, but then transitioned to teaching the business organizations class. Teaching is one of my favorite things to do as a lawyer.
The lion’s share of my equity work, however, has occurred outside the legal world. In the winter of 2016, as we all struggled with the results of the election, I moved into the political world. I took over the local young dem group, then joined the county’s Democratic central committee, the organization that sets policy for the Democratic party in the county. From there, I joined PAC and non-profit boards, many of them related to uplifting LGBTQ+ people. In 2020, I was serving as the President of the Silicon Valley Stonewall Democrats, and we supported 15 LGBTQ+ candidates, 12 of whom were eventually elected, one of the largest classes of LGBTQ+ officials that I’ve seen.
Also in 2020, I officially moved to Sacramento with my husband, where I continue to work for the same firm, started teaching part time at the McGeorge School of Law, and got involved in the ACS Chapter here, eventually becoming President in 2022. We are focused on plugging into the local community and supporting progressive lawyers who are trying to get judicial appointments.
Being a lawyer has opened so many doors for me, and ACS has always been an important part of that. From nearly my first day in law school, I’ve been a member of ACS, and each time I moved, ACS provided me with an entre into the legal community. And of course, I have made so many lifelong friends through this organization.