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Mellissa L. Longo Receives NJSBA Professional Achievement Award
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Attorney Mellissa L. Longo, an associate with the Newark law firm of Robertson, Freilich, Bruno & Cohen, received the Professional Achievement Award from the Young Lawyers Division of the New Jersey State Bar Association on May 19 at the organization’s annual meeting in Atlantic City. Young lawyers in New Jersey who have received professional recognition through publications, excellence in a particular area of law, a significant verdict or law-changing appellate decision, or other such professional achievement are candidates for the Professional Achievement Award.
In 2003-2005, Longo organized and managed efforts in her local legal community to collect food donations for the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. She is actively involved with the AIDSWalk, benefiting the Gay Mens’ Health Crisis, through her fundraising efforts with “Merrill Lynch & Friends.” She has coordinated and hosted various charity events and auctions with corporate sponsors to raise money for people living with HIV and AIDS.
In 2001 through 2002, Longo represented a political asylum petitioner in the Federal District Court of New York on a pro bono basis. She worked on the case in her spare time while being employed full-time and pursuing her M.B.A. She ultimately achieved a successful result for her client, a gay man who was able to document a well-founded fear of persecution under threat of deportation.
“Even before being admitted to the Bar, Longo’s devotion to community service and pro bono work was evident,” wrote Thomas H. Prol, the 2004 Young Lawyer of the Year who nominated Longo. While attending law school, she successfully represented a political asylum applicant in the International Human & Civil Rights Clinic under her professor’s advisement.
“When I sat on the ABA’s Law Student Division Board of Governors, I personally saw and can attest to Mellissa’s actions as she served as Executive Lieutenant Governor for the Second Circuit and the school ABA Representative,” Prol wrote. Longo’s charitable work included spearheading clothing and food collections and toy drives to benefit organizations such as New York Cares, Toys for Tots, Helen’s House, the Coalition for the Homeless and the Salvation Army. Longo’s accomplishments were detailed in a feature article in the ABA’s Student Lawyer Magazine, “Law Student Discovers Flair for Volunteerism” (April 2000; Vol. 28, No. 8).
A graduate of Jersey City University, Longo received her law degree from New York Law School in 2000. She concentrates on litigation and federal practice at the Newark law firm of Robertson, Freilich, Bruno & Cohen.
The Young Lawyers Division of the NJSBA organizes and promotes activities, including continuing legal education seminars that are of assistance to new lawyers in the practice of law, and encourages pro bono and community service involvement by all new lawyers.
The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.
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