Melanie Egas

Law Career Services for students and alumni.

The LEO Corner: Melanie Egas

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 skills.

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, or trial? 
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 States.

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!