Assistant Dean for Graduate Legal Studies and
Michael Pierre Ruiz received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with honors from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1990, and a Juris Doctor from University of Chicago School of Law in 1993.
He has been recognized by the state and national bar having received the Law Student Public Service Award (1993), the Community Service Award (1996), and the Young Lawyer of the Year Award (2000) from the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access (2000) from the American Bar Association.
Before his current position, he worked in the field of communications serving as both the Director of the University Communications department for Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2008-2013) and the Director of Communications for the Office of the President for the Southern Illinois University system (2006-2008).
This is Michael’s second tour with the Southern Illinois University School of Law. From 1998-2006, he was the School’s Director of Admissions. During this time he also held several different positions including the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, staff attorney in the Legal Clinic, the Externship Program supervisor, and adjunct professor of law.
From 1997-2005, Michael established and served as the Project Manager of the Self Help Legal Center. The Center was the first in Illinois to put a comprehensive set of free pro se self-help legal materials on the Internet for the public, and among the first law schools in the nation to use law students to provide free pro se services to the public.
From 1993 to 1997, Michael was a staff attorney at Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation where he assisted clients in thirteen counties in southern Illinois in consumer, family, housing, disability, and education cases.
His current duties include directing the School of Law’s Master of Legal Studies (MLS) and Master of Laws (LL.M) programs; coordinating the School of Law’s pro bono, pipeline, and peer mentoring programs; and recruiting and advising students of color to pursue a legal education.