Alumni Profile: Michael Deshong

Email address:  

Dual/concurrent degree you pursued: JD/MBA

Graduation year: M.B.A. in 2013, J.D. in 2014

Research interests/agenda:  Financial services regulation and litigation

Past Education: George Washington University, B.A. in 2004; major in history, minor in religion

Academic Experiences, Awards and Honors:

  • Faculty Award for highest performance in International Legal Analysis
  • Faculty Award for highest performance in Securities Litigation and Enforcement
  • UC Irvine Law Review: Article Selection & Style Chair (Executive Board)
  • Full scholarship to UC Irvine School of Law

Presentations, Publications, Speaking Engagements:

  • San Diego State University, guest speaker on judiciary’s role in public policy, April 2017

Employment/Career Highlights (positions, internships, externships, clerkships):

See resume below.

What made you interested in pursuing dual degrees?

I knew nothing about business when I applied to law school. After the 2008 financial crisis, it bothered me that I lacked even a basic understanding of the financial markets. As a result, I began reading a lot of books about the crisis and Wall Street in general, When Genius FailsThe End of Wall StreetLiar’s PokerThe Big Short, etc. I read a lot of these books during my first year of law school. I became really interested in financial markets and thought it might be an area of law I wanted to focus on. When they announced the creation of the J.D./M.B.A. program, I took it as an opportunity to build up a background in finance and accounting to help me move towards that goal. 

How would you describe your experience in the dual-degree program?

I had a fantastic experience. Law school and business school are very different experiences and I found moving between the programs provided a nice change of pace. For me, law school was a very solitary endeavor. I spent a lot of time reading and then I took a final exam at the end of the semester that decided my grade. Business school was entirely different. Almost everything was done in groups and there numerous assignments due during the quarter. It felt very fast paced and like there was always a looming deadline to meet. I found that at the end of fast-paced quarter, I looked forward to going back to reading my law books for a semester, and vice versa.

In terms of academics, I couldn’t have been happier. I had not taken a math class since high school, but I held my own in finance and accounting at the business school. I gained an understanding of how to value financial instruments and analyze financial reports. When I returned to law school, I took Banking Law with Professor David Min and Securities Regulation with Professor Arewa. When we discussed risk in banking, tiered capital, or material misstatements in financial reports, I felt like my background in finance and accounting provided me a deeper understanding of those topics. My courses in each program complemented each other extremely well.  

How has the dual-degree program helped you achieve your goals?

My M.B.A. has certainly opened up opportunities and given me skills that helped me distinguish myself at various points. For example, at my first position, I conducted an informal audit for some work we were doing before we submitted it to the client. Afterwards, the opportunity to investigate some financial discrepancies for another client came up and the partner gave me the opportunity to work on the project and took me to meet with the company owners and their accountant to discuss it. Similarly, when I went to my second firm, my first large project for a partner involved analyzing past litigation to identify trends and recurring issues that contributed to litigation costs. Based on my experience in statistics, I was able to set up a spreadsheet that categorized cases and then calculated how the types of claims involved accounted for the variation in litigation costs.

When I graduated, I wanted to work for the Securities Exchange Commission doing enforcement. When I did not have any luck obtaining a position, I decided that I would look at other kinds of enforcement work, which led to me becoming an Assistant United States Attorney.