Alumni Spotlights
Neha Shah alumna profile image
November 23, 2019 |

Alumna’s Passion for Service Drives Meaningful Career

Neha R. Shah (JD 2013) credits Golden Gate’s caring professors and hands-on training with helping her succeed in civil service.

By Jenny McKeel

The commitment to public interest law first attracted Neha Shah to Golden Gate University. But the supportive environment—amid challenging personal circumstances—made Golden Gate feel like home.

Neha always knew she wanted to dedicate her life to helping others. While studying undergraduate business at San Francisco State, she interned with the Warriors Community Foundation and volunteered with organizations helping underprivileged communities across the globe. After graduation, Neha worked in nonprofit contract management while continuing to advocate for international human rights. She decided to go to law school to further her efforts to help others.

Hands-On Training

At Golden Gate, Neha appreciated hands-on training in the JD program that enabled her to apply theoretical principles to real-world contexts.

“Professor Eric Christiansen, in particular, was so supportive. I participated in the Paris Program, a summer comparative law program held in Paris run by him. As part of the program, students could secure an optional internship. When I wasn’t excited by available prospects, Professor Christiansen supported my efforts to secure an internship with eBay France. After that, I worked as a research assistant for him. These experiences prepared me for the workforce.”

Turning Struggle Into Opportunity

What Neha didn’t anticipate was the hardship she experienced her second year in law school when a valued classmate died. It devastated her entire class, and transformed Neha’s life.

“The following year was probably the most formative year of my life. It was through the support of professors, admins, classmates, and friends that I was able to cope with this tragedy, learn and grow, turning struggle into opportunity. “

Today, Neha serves as Manager of Systemwide Labor Relations for the California State University Office of the Chancellor. CSU educates the most diverse students in the nation and Neha finds her work, similar to that of traditional labor lawyers, fulfilling. Outside of work, she remains active with organizations including the International Rescue Committee and the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California. She advises law students to pursue internship opportunities and access support networks.

“Law school is what you make of it. I was fortunate to have excellent professors and support. Perseverance is key, and I encourage anyone going through a challenging time to reach out to those support systems, navigate through those issues, and seek the opportunity to grow.”

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