Attorney Michael T. Petela, Jr. attended Cornell University on scholarships and attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations in 2002. Following graduation he fought for worker rights with the Service Employee’s International Union, organizing nursing home and hospital workers in Hartford, New Haven, and throughout Connecticut. He attained his J.D. degree from the evening program of Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2009, where he graduated with honors and received merit-based scholarships. While attending law school at night he worked full time during the day at as a paralegal for a firm representing plaintiffs against insurance companies in Hamden, CT. Upon his admission to the Connecticut bar he became an associate attorney for a boutique employment law firm exclusively representing employees in Woodbridge, CT. Thereafter Attorney Petela joined a prominent firm in Hartford, CT as an associate, where he litigated cases of civil rights, personal injury, workers’ compensation, labor and employment, discrimination and retaliation, wage and hour violations, social security disability, police brutality, criminal matters, motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, breach of contract, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and whistle blower claims. He has tried numerous cases to verdict, and argued before the Connecticut Appellate and Supreme Courts, such as the Supreme Court case of Adriana Ruiz v. Victory Properties after successfully appealing the trial court decision (the oral argument was televised and may be viewed here), and has had several classes of wage theft claims successfully certified and resolved. Attorney Petela currently focuses his practice on wage theft class and collective actions. He continues to represent employees and injured persons in State and Federal Court, the Workers’ Compensation Commission, the Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities, the Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board. He is admitted to practice in the State of Connecticut and the United States Federal District Court, District of Connecticut. Attorney Petela has been selected by The National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Connecticut, and as one of its Top 40 under 40.