A graduate of Harvard Law School, Melinda returned to her native Wisconsin. Melinda has developed a practice focused on trial and appellate representation of businesses and business leaders faced with critical litigation challenges. Her experience encompasses all phases of the litigation process, from investigation through discovery, motion practice and trial and appeal as well as alternative dispute resolution.

Melinda has successfully litigated trial and appellate cases in federal courts, most notably the Seventh Circuit, in Wisconsin state courts and also courts in other states under pro hac vice admission, for the duration of the legal proceeding.

In addition to her general trial and appellate litigation practice, Melinda has represented railroads in a number of litigation actions involving the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), crossing accidents, and in related federal preemption litigation.

Melinda also assists business owners with estate planning and trust and estate matters, working to create estate plans tailored to their individual requirements, from wills and powers of attorney to establishing complex trust arrangements. She has also represented personal representatives in probate proceedings. She represents commercial landlords in eviction proceedings, lease negotiations and documentation, as well as in wider landlord/tenant counsel and litigation concerning the issues that arise in the course of operating a commercial property portfolio.

Her accomplishments include:

  • Selected by BizTimes Media, Notable series, Notable Women in Law for 2020.
  • Recently winning a jury verdict defeating an eight-figure counterclaim after an 11 day trial.
  • Selected as a 2019 Women in the Law Honoree by the Wisconsin Law Journal.
  • Successfully representing Wisconsin businesses in a recent appeal of antitrust cases at the United States Supreme Court involving hundreds of millions of dollars in controversy.
  • Successfully representing a Wisconsin business in the Wisconsin Supreme Court to obtain a ruling based on the Court’s exercise of its supervisory powers that parties have a constitutional right to have cases heard by elected judges, rather than appointed referees.
  • Representing a major interstate railroad in defense of multi-million dollar Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) claims.
  • Successfully litigating multiple defenses of premises liability claims on behalf of commercial property owners.
  • Counseling trustees on issues encountered in the daily administration and wind-up of multi-million dollar trusts.
  • Appointed trustee administering multi-million dollar trusts.
  • Represented personal representatives in complex probate proceedings.
  • Successful defense of a corporation against a seven figure Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claim.

Bar Admissions

  • Wisconsin
  • United States Supreme Court
  • Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Western District of Wisconsin
  • Northern District of Illinois

Legal Education

  • Harvard Law School, J.D. (1999)
    • Member, Harvard Defenders, a student practice organization providing free representation to low-income defendants in criminal show-cause hearings before clerk-magistrates. 1996-1997

Undergraduate Education

  • Lawrence University, B.A., magna cum laude (1996)
    • Phi Beta Kappa
    • Wristen Merit Scholar
    • Kimberly Clark Merit Scholar
    • Wristen Merit Scholar

Representative Published Works

  • Legislature’s Changes to Rules of Civil Procedure,” Wisconsin Lawyer Magazine, June 2018 (vol. 91, no. 6) (co-author, with R. Billings and R. Gegios).
  • Mitigation of Damages,” Ch. 30, The Law of Damages in Wisconsin, Vol. III; 5th Ed., Pinnacle Books, State Bar of Wisconsin, 2010 – Current.

Professional Associations

  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association
  • Fairchild Inns of Court
  • Serjeants’ Inn

Leadership Positions

  • Member of the Board of Directors – the Eastern District Bar Association
  • Past Co-chair of the Civil Practice Committee – the Eastern District Bar Association
  • Member, Wisconsin Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Practice Committee 2005-2007
  • Trustee, Immanuel Presbyterian Church 2005-2008