Melissa is a highly respected trial and appellate attorney who is committed to pursuing justice on behalf of her clients while promoting integrity in the legal profession. She handles cases concerning defective products, premises liability, other personal injury claims, insurance disputes, bad faith, and environmental matters. She is regularly recognized by her peers as a leading plaintiff’s attorney. She was named as a Super Lawyers Rising Star from 2016-2018, ranked among the Top 40 Under 40 of the National Trial Lawyers Association in 2017, and was included in the 2020 list of Best Lawyers in America.
Melissa is licensed to practice in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. She routinely appears in state and federal appellate courts, and has litigated in the Tenth, Ninth, Fifth, and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeal. Recent highlights of her appellate work include wins at both the Colorado Court of Appeals and Colorado Supreme Court in the case of Boustred v. Align, which set the new standard for determining specific personal jurisdiction in product liability litigation.
Outside the courtroom, Melissa is an active member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers’ Association (CTLA), the Colorado Women’s Bar Association (CWBA), the Attorneys Information and Exchange Group (AIEG), and the Colorado Women’s Trial Lawyer Network (WTLN). She serves a CLE coordinator for the WTLN, brief writer for CTLA’s amicus committee, and is a member of CTLA’s bad faith committee. In 2019, Melissa served as the Denver Regional Coordinator for the American Association of Justice (AAJ) Student Trial Advocacy Competition, and has, since 2018, served as a mentor to new attorneys through the State of New Mexico’s Bridge the Gap program.
Melissa is a two-time contributing author to Trial Talk magazine, co-author of the LexisNexis Practice Guide: Colorado Pretrial Civil Litigation, and co-author of the book, Awakening Spirits: Wolves in the Southern Rockies (2010), eds., Richard P. Reading, et. al. Melissa has been a guest lecturer at the University of New Mexico’s School of Law, has spoken at numerous litigation seminars, and has presented to the U.S. Counsel on Environmental Quality on the overuse of categorical exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act.
From 2010 to 2017, Melissa served as the President of the Board of the Southern Plains Land Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to setting aside land in southeastern Colorado for the benefit of native wildlife. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for WildEarth Guardians, a nonprofit organization that preserves the wildlife, wild places, and wild rivers of the American West. Melissa also serves as pro bono legal counsel to the Board of Directors for High Country News, an independent non-profit news media source focused on stories that define the American West.
Seattle University School of Law (JD, cum laude, 2006)
University of Denver (BA, cum laude, 2001)
Colorado Rising Stars, 2016-2019
Best Lawyers, 2020
National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, 2017
Colorado Women’s Bar Association