Young Managing Partner Possesses Energy and Poise

As a young managing partner of the New York office of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, Melanie Figueroa deftly splits her time between representing clients and building the culture of the law firm.

While maintaining an active corporate securities practice and working with some of the firms’ largest clients, Figueroa also tackles issues including information technology, marketing, retirement, and recruitment.

Figueroa knew at a young age what she wanted to do with her life. “I was in second grade,” she said. “While the type of lawyer I wanted to be has transitioned over time, I was confident early on that this would be my career path.”

She launched her legal career at a boutique corporate securities law firm in NYC, first as a paralegal in college then as a legal clerk while in law school. As a young legal clerk at Feldman LLP, she displayed poise and energy during client interaction, and remained with the firm after graduating from law school. A short time later, following a merger, she became a part of a new burgeoning office for Richardson & Patel, which ultimately merged with MSK last year. In less than a year, she was appointed managing partner. Her colleagues say she is critical to building the office, recruiting talent, training younger attorneys, and nurturing key client relationships.

They say she is a natural born leader with an infectious laugh, magnetic personality, and thoughtful views on building the business. They say she’s a natural for creating bonds with clients and is respected as she operates with the poise and sophistication of attorneys many years her senior.

She strives toward ensuring the MSK culture is on display. Figueroa consistently and elegantly divides her time between clients and the administrative duties of an office managing partner. Her input is felt everywhere, with time spent on the committees for diversity and inclusion, marketing, mentoring, and retirement.

Accepting the office managing partner position was her biggest career leap. “As a young, minority woman partner in an industry where women are still grossly underrepresented in management, this position was a huge leap and a tremendous opportunity, particularly at this stage of my career,” she said. “Every day presents a new learning experience and an opportunity for growth.”

She says the most important quality a woman leader should have is positive intuition and respect for your colleagues. “Good leaders also understand that they are only as good as the team they lead and success is difficult to achieve without the support of those around you, so it is important to respect, encourage, support and believe in your team in order to build an environment where that respect, encouragement and support will be reciprocated.”