Melissa graduated from California Western School of Law, where she was a clinical student in the California Innocence Project. While in law school, she also clerked for Appellate Defenders, Inc., and the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office. In her third year, Melissa clerked at a San Diego family law firm.
Upon graduation, Melissa chose family law as her specialty. She was certified by the State Bar of California as a Certified Family Law Specialist in 2016. She found, and finds, the breadth of legal issues arising in the context of family law, challenging and exciting and the clients compelling. In 2007, Melissa opened her own family law firm, which she operated for 15 years. In those 15 years, Melissa successfully represented hundreds of clients in simple to complex family law matters. She is experienced in high-conflict custody matters, complex financial matters, cases involving hidden and stolen assets, difficult domestic violence cases, complex financial matters, date of separation issues, and relocation cases both domestic and international. Melissa has represented clients in 19 writs and appeals, mostly in the realm of family law, but also criminal and Anti-SLAPP. Melissa is now pursuing her California State Bar Specialization in appellate law.
Melissa is known for her compassion for clients, doggedness in dealing with opposing counsel (when appropriate), and her clear, thorough, and persuasive legal writing. Melissa has two published decisions in the Fourth District Court of Appeal Division One. When the first of those published decisions was featured in a 2009 issue of California Family Law Report, former Los Angeles County Family Law Supervising Judge Thomas Trent Lewis noted Melissa’s tenacity both in the trial court and on appeal.
Prior to law school, Melissa worked as a newspaper reporter in Aspen and Grand Junction, Colorado, Great Falls, Montana, and Los Angeles, California. Originally from Ohio, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio.
When Melissa is not working, she enjoys hiking with her dog Beckett, kayaking, and reading, especially memoirs and biographies. Melissa has one daughter, Claire, 20, with her husband Mark.