Melinda brings her leadership skill and experience to a new arena as Global Business Unit Leader of Orrick’s 330- lawyer Litigation Business Unit. She leads a team that litigates for a third of the Fortune 100 in some of the highest stakes cases before the courts. 

Melinda is an experienced trial lawyer with 28 years of prosecutorial and private sector experience. She has personally handled securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, antitrust, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, environmental, civil rights, defense contractor fraud, health care fraud, money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and child exploitation cases. Melinda has served as lead or co-lead counsel in more than 19 jury and bench trials, including a number of complex white collar and civil rights cases. Among her most notable trial accomplishments, Melinda served as co-lead trial counsel representing the CFO of a publicly-traded pharmaceutical company who was charged with violating the federal criminal securities laws. The client was acquitted and completely vindicated following a lengthy trial. She also successfully defended at trial the former GC of a publicly-traded software company, who had been charged with federal criminal securities law violations. While serving as an AUSA, Melinda led the federal government’s successful investigation and trial against a group of prison guards at Pelican Bay State Prison charged with violating the civil rights of inmates in their custody. 

After earning her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 1987, Melinda began her career as a litigation associate and then served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. She thereafter worked as a partner in a San Francisco boutique law firm before being tapped by then U.S. Attorney Robert Mueller (who later served as the FBI Director for 12 years) to serve as a supervisor in the San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s Office. Melinda stepped down as the Chief of the White Collar Section in 2003, joining Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe as a litigation partner in San Francisco.

After being nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate, Melinda served as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California from August 2010 through September 2015, overseeing the U.S. Department of Justice’s work in a district that is an epicenter for complex, cutting-edge investigations and prosecutions. She led a team of more than 130 criminal and civil Assistant U.S. Attorneys in handling a high volume of matters that involved export enforcement, computer intrusions and intellectual property theft, international corruption, digital currency issues, securities fraud, and economic crimes, national security, public integrity and civil rights violations, and organized crime, among other things. Melinda served as Co-Chair of the White Collar Crime Subcommittee of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, and was a member of the Cybersecurity and Health Care Fraud Subcommittees, where she collaborated with U.S. Attorneys nationwide on the development and implementation of national policies and practices regarding the government’s approach to economic crimes and cybersecurity.

  • Board Affiliations

    During her recent service as United States Attorney, Melinda was limited by government and ethics rules in her ability to serve on boards and with community organizations. Before her time as U.S. Attorney, Melinda served in the following board and related capacities:

    • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers (inducted March 2008)
    • Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives. This is a group of lawyers selected by the Northern District judges to assist in planning conferences and advising the Court regarding other matters. Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives are selected by the Court to serve three-year terms. Melinda was co-chair of the group in her second year
    • Professional Responsibility Committee for the Northern District of  California. This is a group of lawyers selected by the federal Northern District judges to assist in investigating and resolving ethics complaints lodged against counsel
    • Bar Association of San Francisco Judicial Appointments Committee. This is a group that evaluates state judicial candidates
    • Board Member, Bar Association of San Francisco
    • Bar Association of San Francisco, Chair, Work-Life Balance Committee
    • Member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
    • ACLU Lawyer’s Council
  • Some of Melinda's notable representations include:

    • Represented at trial the Chief Financial Officer of a Fortune 100 health care company in a federal criminal securities fraud case. The client was acquitted on all counts following an eight-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
    • Defended at trial the General Counsel of an international, publicly-traded software company against charges of securities fraud, bank fraud and wire fraud. Following a three-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, all charges were dismissed after the jury declined to convict (the verdict was in favor of acquittal) and the court declared a mistrial.
    • Counsel for numerous individuals, companies and audit committees in stock option backdating cases. No criminal charges were filed in any of these cases.
    • Counsel for numerous individuals in connection with a criminal tax shelter investigation in the Southern District of New York. No criminal charges were filed against our clients.
    • Counsel for a networking technologies executive facing criminal antitrust charges in the Northern District of California.
    • Represented the General Counsel of a publicly-traded electronics manufacturer in connection with a civil enforcement action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging securities fraud.
    • Defending the General Counsel of a publicly-traded software company in connection with a civil enforcement action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning stock option grants (and related class and derivative actions).
    • Represent the former marketing director of a Fortune 100 biotechnology company in a grand jury investigation concerning off-label promotion. No criminal charges were filed against our client.  
    • Represented a hedge fund in an investigation by the United States Attorney's Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding market timing and late trading. No criminal charges were filed and the SEC declined to bring an enforcement action.  
    • Represented an Internet search engine in connection with Grand Jury investigations related to online gambling and insider trading. No criminal charges were filed.
    • Represented the former chairman and Chief Executive Officer of a publicly-traded medical equipment manufacturer in connection with investigations by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning revenue recognition.
    • Conducted an internal investigation for a company that suspected its Chief Executive Officer was, without authorization and for the benefit of himself and his girlfriend, diverting company funds to accounts in Asia. The evidence gathered proved the company's suspicions were true, and the CEO was terminated for cause.