Melanie is a 3L student and a LEO fellow. During Summer 2023, she was a summer associate
at the firm Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC (CSG) in Roseland, New Jersey. After
graduation, Melanie will clerk for Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez in Hudson County.
What do you think is unique about CSG?
CSG is so unique and well-respected because of their culture. They’re a big law firm
with the heart of a small, boutique firm. CSG is built on a culture of professionalism—with
integrity, excellence, teamwork, diversity, and high ethical standards at the forefront
of their vision.
CSG is full of zealous, invested, ethical advocates who are kind and equitable. The
firm practices a humanistic approach with clients, colleagues, and the community,
built on respect, fairness, and justice.
One of my favorite things about CSG is the firms committed to building an inclusive
culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates diverse voices.
What was it like working at CSG?
Working at CSG has been an invaluable personal and professional experience! I’ve had
the opportunity to work across many different practice areas, including Intellectual
Property (Trademark & Copyrights), Corporate & Securities, Privacy & Data Security,
Employment Law, White-Collar Criminal Defense & Investigations, etc. I’ve gotten in-depth,
in-person feedback on all assignments and projects I’ve worked on. My overall experience
at CSG has truly enhanced my legal research and writing skills, as well as my interpersonal
Additionally, I have built meaningful relationships and mentorships with attorneys
across all practice areas. Every attorney I’ve interacted with—from junior associates
to the founders—has been extremely welcoming and invested in each other’s success.
What was the most interesting project you have worked on?
Although I have worked on several interesting projects, the most interesting project
I worked on was a case in which the defendants intentionally destroyed evidence. In
this case, CSG filed suit on behalf of plaintiff, a financial technology company,
for improper termination of a contract. After the discovery process had begun, the
defendants disregarded a court order to produce documents and instead intentionally
destroyed the evidence. It was my assignment to conduct legal research on sanctions
for intentional spoliation of evidence and what powers the court has to make an adverse
inference or dismiss pleadings. This case was very interesting to me because, in addition
to becoming familiar with the facts and conducting legal research, I also observed
a deposition and met the client.
Have you had the opportunity to shadow an attorney at a deposition, court appearance,
I’ve had many opportunities to shadow attorneys in the litigation department. I’ve
attended trials and sentencings, observed mediations, and sat in on depositions. It
was fascinating to observe CSG litigate against some of the most successful lawyers
from the biggest law firms in the country—and win.
I also made a court appearance on behalf of CSG in the Superior Court for a Landlord/Tenant
eviction matter. Although I was extremely nervous to be appearing in court on behalf
of CSG (alone!), it was an amazing experience! I’m glad I completed my official first
court-appearance over the summer!
How has working at CSG helped you to make decisions about your post-graduation plans?
CSG has been a tremendous help in navigating my post-graduation plans. Throughout
the course of the summer, I received invaluable personal and professional advice and
mentorship from attorneys.
Following the advice I received, I accepted an offer to clerk for Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez,
Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division in Hudson County, for the 2024-2025 year.
Further, my experience as a Summer Associate at CSG truly reinforced my desire to
work for the firm and I’m extremely excited to join CSG after completing my clerkship!
What advice do you have for students, and particularly LEO students, interested in
working for a big law firm?
Take initiative! Beyond excelling in the classroom, get involved! There are many ways
to get involved—whether through law school organizations or by joining bar associations
within the broader legal community. It is never too early to becoming a leader.
Network! Network! Network! As you will all soon learn, it’s not only what you know,
but who you know. Networking is a great way to build your professional reputation,
increase visibility, open doors to new opportunities, and create impactful and life-long
connections and mentorships.
Build and protect your professional reputation! Always be kind—genuinely kind. Don’t
fake it! The way you treat others will always be remembered. The legal community is
very small, and your professional reputation can either gain or cost you opportunities.
What are your plans for 3L year?
Although I have many exciting plans for my 3L year, what I’m looking forward to the
most is working in the Immigrants’ Rights & International Human Rights Clinic at the
Center for Social Justice. Since my 1L year, I have worked as a Spanish and Portuguese
Legal Interpreter at the clinic. I’m beyond excited to now serve as a student attorney
by representing clients who are seeking political asylum and refuge in the United
Additionally, I’m looking forward to serving as Co-President of the Criminal Law Society
and once again representing Seton Hall Law in an Interscholastic Mock Trial competition.
Further, I have a few wonderful internship opportunities for the fall semester and
will be finalizing my decision on where to intern in the coming weeks!