Alumni Spotlight: Melissa Abraham ’17

This month, Melissa Abraham ’17 joined the highly regarded real estate practice group at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, an international law firm. The fact that she is launching a career in real estate law isn’t surprising to Abraham; in fact, the field was a natural fit.

Growing up in Weston, Florida, Abraham routinely heard real estate terms from her parents. Her father is a broker, her mother a property manager.

“The talk around the kitchen table was, ‘What building are you working on?’” she says. “I grew accustomed to hearing about real estate deals.”

At the University of Florida, she majored in Business Administration and Marketing. When she enrolled at NYLS, she was confident that she wanted to pursue transactional law, not litigation, but uncertain of whether her preference was corporate or real estate law. Her Real Estate Transactions class, taught by Professor Gerald Korngold, solidified her interest in real estate.

“We learned the intricacies of how mortgages work,” she says. “That class proved to be so useful for the bar, and it’s great information for any lawyer.”

Professor Korngold also became a mentor and sounding board for Abraham. “I could call and ask his advice on anything professional, and he wouldn’t hesitate,” she says. “The relationships you develop at NYLS are second to none.”

She also praised her Corporate Real Estate Class with Professor James Hagy. “One week, we spent the entire class going through a corporate real estate document in very fine detail,” she says. “I was 100 percent confident I’d be working with similar documents, so that exercise was very worthwhile.”

Abraham affiliated with NYLS’s Center for Real Estate Studies, which linked her to students with similar interests and organized events that drew New York City’s real estate leaders to campus. She also interned with a management company that owned property in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Long Island City, Queens. The experience taught her about the landlord-tenant aspects of real estate.

During her final year at NYLS, Abraham won a scholarship from WX—New York Women Executives in Real Estate. The organization seeks to grow women’s participation in the real estate industry and offers programs, scholarships, and mentoring.

“I’m so honored to have received the scholarship,” she says. “The best part is that through WX, I’ll be able to develop long-term relationships with women in the real estate field. In fact, WX connected me with a mentor at Gibson Dunn who was someone I had already considered a mentor. We laughed that it was meant to be. I am so excited to build connections with the incredible women who have established real estate careers in New York.”

As Abraham transitions from law student to full-time attorney (with a memorable trip to Asia in between), she is thrilled to launch her career in the Big Apple.

“This is the best place in the world to work in real estate,” she says. “There is a tangible payoff at the end of a real estate project: You see a building rise, and you can say, ‘I worked on that deal.’ I wouldn’t have that experience on the same scale anywhere else.”