She primarily worked with the justices of the Fourth District Court of Appeal in San Diego, but also with those of the Sixth District Court of Appeal in San Jose as well as the California Supreme Court in San Francisco. During that time, Melanie analyzed thousands of briefs, motions, and petitions, advised justices on hundreds of appeals, and developed a deep understanding of how appellate courts actually decide cases. Her experience helping justices to draft nearly a thousand opinions gives Melanie acute skill in identifying and crafting the appellate arguments most likely to succeed.
The appeals Melanie helped the justices decide significantly impacted the law governing anti-SLAPP, real property, employment, arbitration, class action, attorney fee, and public entity lawsuits. She worked on hundreds of appeals with intricate questions of statutory interpretation and complex procedural issues, and scores raising novel legal questions. She spent much of her time on the Court of Appeal as the lead attorney in the chambers of of the Fourth District.
She worked for the court’s Civil Central Staff, and also worked in the chambers of Supreme Court Justice Edward Panelli, preparing bench opinion memoranda and advising Justice Panelli on the cases and petitions before the court.
She also lectured on persuasive writing to bar groups and law firms. In addition, Melanie founded and currently chairs the San Diego County Bar Association’s Access to Appellate Justice Program, and she regularly presents at the San Diego County’s Civil Self-Help Appellate Workshop. She has also served as a pro tem small claims judge in the San Diego County Superior Court, and is a Master at the San Diego Appellate Inn of Court.
She also served as Articles Editor for the Santa Clara Law Review. After law school, and before beginning work for the courts, Melanie practiced at the litigation firm Heller, Ehrman, White and McAuliffe. She received her B.A. in Economics and Political Science with highest honors from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
California Court of Appeal
California Supreme Court
Santa Clara University School of Law
Best Lawyers in America Best Lawyers Magazine
U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit