Melissa joined the Firm in October 2013 after 16 years with a large firm. She brought with her substantial experience litigating trusts and estates, product liability and complex commercial disputes in federal and state courts in Virginia and elsewhere. She has represented businesses and individuals in disputes involving fraud and misrepresentation, negligence, insurance, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and wills and trusts.
She has represented financial institutions, colleges and individuals in trusts and estates cases involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty, lack of testamentary capacity, fraud and duress and cases seeking aid and guidance from the court regarding the interpretation of a will or trust. Melissa also has successfully litigated cases involving family limited liability companies and partnerships. She regularly defends trustees against breach of fiduciary duty claims. She also represents beneficiaries of estates and trusts, including in cases seeking a trust modification or termination or the removal of a trustee. Melissa also represents family members in cases seeking the appointment of a guardian and conservator for an incapacitated relative.
Telephone (804) 387-4803
University of Virginia School of Law, J.D. 1997
University of Virginia, with distinction, Phi Beta Kappa 1994
Bar and Court Admissions
Courts of Virginia
Supreme Court of the United States
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia
Professional Awards and Recognition
Selected as a Virginia "Rising Star" in Personal Injury Defense: Products by Law & Politics' Virginia Super Lawyers Magazine (2007-2009, 2011-2012).
Richmond Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) 2019-present)
CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocate (2019-2022)
SCAN - Stop Child Abuse Now, Board of Directors (2000-2006); Advisory Committee (2007-2009)
Secretary of the Board of Directors, Lake Salisbury Association (2021 to present)
Class Trustee, University of Virginia School of Law Foundation, Lifetime trustee (1997-2019)
Publications, Presentations, and Speaking Engagements
Co-author, " Significant Virginia Trusts and Estates Litigation Cases in 2011," Virginia Lawyer, April 2012.
Speaker, “Virginia Evidence: Getting It in, Keeping It Out,” Virginia Continuing Legal Education (March 2012).
Co-author, “Defending (And Defending With) Pharmacovigilance After Wyeth v. Levine,” DRI’s For the Defense magazine (August 2011).
Co-author, The Scope of Discovery in Lead Exposure Litigation: Family Matters, 21 Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, J. Civ. Litig. 25, Spring 2009.
Co-Author, Spahn, Gary J., et al., Virginia Law of Products Liability, (2d. ed. Harrison 2002 and annual updates).
Author, "Virginia Consumer Protection Act Chapter", Virginia Business Torts, Virginia CLE Publications (2d ed. 2009).
Presentation, Defense Research Institute Young Lawyers Seminar, "E-Discovery: Recent Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Practical Pointers" (June 2007).
Author, " Successful Strategies for Asserting and Defending Against Virginia Consumer Protection Act Claims," Virginia State Bar Litigation News, Vol. XII, number 3, Summer 2005.
Co-Author, " Fraudulent Joinder: Successful Removal of Actions to Federal Court," Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Law Bulletin, April 2004.
Moderated “Preparing A Winning Trial” panel discussion, Richmond Bar Association sponsored Continuing Legal Education, 2001.
Moderated “Negotiation Strategies” panel discussion, Richmond Bar Association sponsored Continuing Legal Education, 2001.