Q&A with Mitch Dugan: An inside look into his Squirrel Hill upbringing

Whether it's for workers' compensation benefits, social security disability disputes or personal injury cases - Mitch Dugan has dedicated the past 17 years of his life to helping others receive the coverage they deserve as the founder of Dugan & Associates. Dugan's firm provides legal representation services to clients with no fee unless a recovery is made, providing a risk-free option to those seeking professional help for tough situations.

With the cards stacked against him and his firm--from uncooperative employers or insurance companies--Dugan acts as a resource for his clients in order to help them weather the storm. And more often than not, they emerge victorious with money in their pocket.

Dugan, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh's School of Law, has elevated his way through the ranks to become one of the Steel City's most prominent lawyers. He's an active member of the American Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Allegheny County Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives and the Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. He's also licensed to practice in both the Pennsylvania State Courts and the Western District of the Federal Courts.

You've probably seen Dugan's face on billboards, bus stop advertisements or even TV commercials, though there's more to him than what meets the eye. He recently agreed to an exclusive interview to provide potential clients with an inside look into his life outside of work. In this segment, Mitch discussed his upbringing in the beloved Squirrel Hill community of Pittsburgh.

Q: What do you remember about growing up in Squirrel Hill?

A: Squirrel Hill is a great place to grow up because you can walk everywhere. We walked to school, we walked to the pizza parlors. When I was in second grade, there was a pharmacy between my house and school, and every day my mom would give me money to buy candy. I'd go every day after school. Just feeling like a part of the community from a young age; it's those kinds of memories that will always be with me.

Q: What was your favorite restaurant back then?

A: There were three pizza parlors within two blocks. Mineo's, Aiello's, and Napoli. All within two blocks, and I used to eat all three of them. You had a slice here, a slice there. 

Q: What does the Squirrel Hill community embody and how has it shaped the person you've become?

A: When I was a kid growing up there, to me it was a neighborhood. It's like any place where you grow up--you bond with people you're with and share similar experiences. One of my best friends had the same experience. We'd stop at the pizza parlors and a billiard hall called The Corner Pocket, and several of us got very good at pool. The interesting thing about Squirrel Hill is that it's very diverse. You don't realize it as a kid because that's all you know. But then when you move out of there, that's when you know. It's a diverse neighborhood with different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Q: Did the fact that you grew up in a diverse community environment teach you anything about life?

A: Yes, for sure. You definitely become more accepting of people. You judge people on the content of their character as opposed to the fabric of their skin.

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