Derek Schoonmaker

Directing Attorney

As Workers’ Rights Directing Attorney, Derek leads Centro Legal’s efforts to provide legal services and representation to low-wage immigrant workers facing wage theft, workplace safety violations, discrimination, and retaliation. Before joining Centro Legal, Derek served as a legal fellow with Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection Program in Washington, D.C., where he supported advocacy efforts to challenge abusive immigration detention practices. After the fellowship, Derek joined the Social Justice Law Project to advance impact litigation aimed at removing barriers to employment for low-wage workers with criminal records.

Derek has advocated for the rights of low-wage immigrant workers since his first year of law school, when he and other law students collaborated with a day laborer center to offer a weekly legal clinic for workers confronting wage theft.

Derek holds a Juris Doctor degree from U.C. Berkeley School of Law, and a Joint Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Development Studies from McGill University. He served as a law clerk for Judge Anthony J. Scirica of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

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