Derek Schoonmaker

Workers’ Rights Program Director

As the Workers’ Rights Program Director, 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. Prior to Centro Legal, Derek served as a legal fellow with Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection Program in Washington, D.C., where he engaged in policy advocacy challenging abusive immigration detention practices, and as an attorney with the Social Justice Law Project, where he worked on impact litigation to remove barriers to employment for low-wage workers with criminal records.

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 worked as a law clerk for Judge Anthony Scirica of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Prior to law school, Derek worked with a Seattle nonprofit to develop and teach a civil rights history curriculum at public high schools. Derek has advocated for the rights of low-wage immigrant workers since his first year of law school, when he worked together with other law students and a day laborer center to help start a weekly legal clinic for workers confronting wage theft.