She worked primarily with the justices of the Fourth District Court of Appeal in San Diego, and 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 draft nearly a thousand opinions gives Melanie acute skill in identifying and crafting the appellate arguments most likely to succeed.
Melanie helped the justices decide appeals significantly impacting the law governing anti-SLAPP, real property, employment, arbitration, class action, attorney fees, and public entity lawsuits. She worked on hundreds of appeals with intricate questions of statutory interpretation and complex procedural issues. She spent much of her time on the Court of Appeal as the lead attorney in the chambers of Justice Judith Haller of the Fourth District, and before that worked in the chambers of Justice Howard Wiener.
As a high court civil central staff attorney, she analyzed and made recommendations on scores of petitions for review. She also worked in the chambers of Supreme Court Justice Edward Panelli, drafting bench opinion memoranda and advising Justice Panelli on the cases and petitions before the court.
She also lectures on persuasive writing to bar groups and law firms. In addition, Melanie founded and 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, Melanie practiced at the litigation firm Heller Ehrman. 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
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U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit