Melissa was born in Eugene, Oregon. She was homeschooled as a young child, which instilled in her a deep passion for learning by exploration. As a fifth grader, she entered the public school system when her family relocated to Seattle, Washington. She earned a Bachelor of Arts at Willamette University and a J.D. at Lewis and Clark Law School.
Prior to law school Melissa held jobs painting houses, working at a reception desk, waiting tables, preparing museum exhibits, providing administrative support to lawyers, and as a photographer’s assistant.
At Lewis and Clark Law School, Melissa interned with the Office of the Metro Attorney in Portland where she worked on issues as diverse as land use, contracts, labor and employment, and solid waste. She also spent two years as a law clerk for the Lewis and Clark Legal Clinic. Experience with civil issues such as family law, tenants’ rights, taxation, and bankruptcy crystallized her passion for direct client service on behalf of those who may struggle to navigate the legal system independently.
Melissa earned a public interest certificate in law school with an emphasis in employment law. As a student, Melissa received the Dean’s Scholarship for excellence, the pro bono service award, and an award recognizing her as the most outstanding clinical student of her graduating class.
Melissa and her husband live in Southeast Portland and enjoy spending time in their vegetable garden and getting around town on their tandem bicycle.
Practice area focus:
Social Security disability benefits, both SSD and SSI, from initial application through federal court appeals.
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