Lizz Lesso is a 3L weekend student at Seton Hall Law. This summer, she will be working
as a summer associate at CSG Law (Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi PC).
What brought you here to law school?
Coming to law school was kind of my pandemic hobby. In high school, everyone told
me I should go to law school, but I wasn’t really interested at the time. The idea
of law school always kind of hovered around in the back of my brain, but I never really
let myself seriously consider it. I was doing well in an unrelated career, and it
seemed like a lot to walk away from. And then the pandemic hit, and I felt like all
these big conversations were happening around me that I didn’t really know how to
participate in. I had time to follow a lot of the news, and also to think about what
it was I really wanted to do. And just about everywhere I looked, it seemed like whoever
was working toward change had a law degree. So this idea of law school that has been
hovering in the back of my brain for a while started to come to the front. And then
when I learned that part-time programs existed, law school started to feel like something
I could really do.
Tell us about your experience here as a weekend student. What have been some of the
challenges? How about triumphs and/or things that you have enjoyed?
The biggest challenge is balancing law school around the rest of my life. My job doesn’t
know that I’m in law school, so that’s an additional hurdle. Overall, though, I love
the weekend program. I love the people I’m meeting and the things I’m learning. As
challenging as balancing everything can be, I’m happy I made the decision to come
to law school. I think the best experience I had was the Gressman Moot Court Competition
my 2L year. I did it with a friend from law school, and we had a really great time
researching and arguing an issue together. It also gave us the opportunity to meet
day students we wouldn’t have interacted with otherwise.
You were able to work for judges as an extern while still holding down a full-time
job. How were you able to swing that? And, how were the externships?
My judicial externships were excellent; I highly recommend them if you can swing it.
For me, I’m lucky to have a job with generous vacation time, and I was also lucky
to find judges who were very accommodating of my schedule. I used vacation time to
be in chambers one day per week, and I was able to conduct research and writing outside
of chambers on my own time. Being in chambers just one day per week I was able to
observe and learn a lot. It was fun to see things I had learned in classes in action,
and I learned a lot that doesn’t come up in a classroom setting.
You went through the Fall Recruitment process this past summer and will be working
at CSG during Summer 2024. How was your experience? What was your thought process
as you were making the decision to join CSG over other offers that you received?
Fall Recruitment was a lot. I wasn’t prepared for how much of my summer applying and
interviewing would take up. I was fortunate to have offers to choose between, but
that was also stressful. My decision to pick CSG was really a gut feeling. Going into
Fall Recruitment, I was mainly targeting big NY firms. I had firms that I liked more
than others, but nowhere I was particularly set on working. My interview with CSG
felt different than my other interviews. I immediately clicked with my interviewers
and it felt less like an interview and more like a conversation with friends. After
viewing the office during my callback, and after talking with people who summered
and currently worked at CSG, I got the sense that CSG was a place where I could do
good work and still have a life outside of work. Also, the judge I interned for this
summer was stepping down from the bench and joining GSG, so that was a big green flag
for me. Plus, the commute to CSG is pretty unbeatable for me–less than 15 minutes.
Do you have any advice for students going through the recruitment process, especially
My advice to anyone going through Fall Recruitment is just to be kind to yourself.
The process is very stressful–it’s stressful when you’re getting interviews, and stressful
when you’re not. Also, apply outside of Fall Recruitment. While the firm I picked
came through Fall Recruitment, the majority of my interviews came outside of Fall
Recruitment because I applied directly to firms.
After your summer at CSG, will you continue to work at your full-time job during your
4LW year? What’s your plan?
After my summer at CSG, I will not continue to work at my job, and I don’t entirely
have a plan for my 4LW year. My plan is really to see what my options are. I’ll need
to find a job, but I’m hoping for something part-time for a bit of a lighter workload
for my final year in law school. I’m also thinking it could be a good opportunity
to explore opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to pursue while working
a full-time job, and maybe get some experience in areas I haven’t had any exposure
to yet, like criminal law.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years with your legal career?
That’s a tough question! So much of law school has been about just making it through
the semester, I feel like I’m lucky now to know what my summer looks like a year in
advance. I am interested in clerking, so that’s something I’d like to do within 5
years. Really I came to law school to acquire a skill set that allows me to affect
substantive change, so in 5 years I hope to be working somewhere I can work on interesting
issues, and also use my legal skillset to give back to the community.