Throughout his career, Michael Maguire has played many
roles: Wall Street broker, Broadway star, international concert soloist, and restorer
of historic homes. Although he continues to sing and restore homes when he can,
he has put those passions on the backburner to do something he has always
wanted: pursue a law degree.
The second-year SCALE student has never been one to take the stereotypical path. An undergraduate of the Oberlin Conservatory with a master's degree in opera from the University of Michigan, Maguire decided not to wait tables while auditioning for shows when he moved to New York. "I had trained in opera, but I thought I should study acting before I started performing in musical theater," he said. "So I had a two-part plan: to work on my acting and make enough money to get me through the early acting years."
Maguire grew up in Virginia and was a strolling troubadour in Williamsburg, where he first began buying and selling stock. He parlayed that early experience into becoming a Eurodollar broker in Manhattan. This was in the early 80s, and Maguire pursued this lucrative niche while studying acting, Brazilian marshal arts and dancing.
"I worked 10 hours a day and then went to classes, but I
didn’t do what lots of people normally do to struggle (for success in show
business). I had my own form of struggle." And when he finally knew that he was
ready for the stage, he didn’t exactly receive a groundswell of support from
his Stock Market cronies. "Everyone who knew me thought I was nuts to leave
being a broker to go into musical theater."
But it paid off. Maguire was eventually cast in the original Broadway production of "Les Misérables," playing Enjolras, a student revolutionary. He won the Tony Award for his work and is also featured in "Les Miserable – The Dreamcast in Concert."
Maguire continued to perform on stage and in film, eventually settling in Los Angeles. Until he started at Southwestern, he was an international symphony soloist (over 300 symphonies) who also restored homes in the Hancock Park area where he lives with his wife, Shelly Smith, and children. The second home he worked on was a historic landmark, and his work on the house won him a Los Angeles Restoration Award in 1999.
Law school is a full-time job, especially for SCALE students
who are finishing their J.D. program in two years. So Maguire has put his
touring schedule on hold for a while. "The first three months were difficult
making the transition to being a student again. This was a challenge, but as
I've caught on, my grades have gotten better. I've always been the kind of guy
who likes to figure out how to do stuff. The learning has been a joy."
After going through a difficult divorce years earlier, Maguire wants to practice family law. "I want to assist people who are going through this to help them calm down, not spend all their money and not ruin their kids in the process. Southwestern's professors focus students on how to help their future clients. They teach you it’s all about the people that you’re working for and what you can do for them."