Melinda brings her leadership skill and experience to
a new arena as a Partner in Orrick’s San Francisco office. She works with a
team that litigates for a third of the Fortune 100 in some of the
highest stakes cases in the country.
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, health care fraud,
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.
Melinda is an experienced trial lawyer and is a Fellow with
the American College of Trial Lawyers. 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. Following a three-week jury
trial, all charges against her client were dismissed. 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 FBI Director and is currently the Special
Counsel investigating Russian interference in U.S. elections) 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.
Melinda has conducted and supervised countless complex
investigations in connection with her work representing companies, boards of
directors and the government. She typically first meets with the client to
discuss and understand the facts and allegations, as well as context and
culture, and then to agree on a focused, efficient investigative plan. Melinda
understands that some investigations require a broad, exhaustive approach, and
that some can be more narrowly tailored and conducted in a way that minimizes
disruption. These investigations have involved allegations or concerns
regarding the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, trade secret theft, antitrust
enforcement, health care fraud, public corruption, securities fraud, and mail
and wire fraud, among others.
Melinda also has significant experience representing
high-level executives in connection with government investigations and cases,
as well as in internal investigations. She is currently representing the
General Counsel of a publicly-traded company; the founder and former CEO of a
San Francisco-based tech company; the founders and principals of a health care
company; a high-level executive with an international firm; members of the
Board of Directors of a publicly-traded health care company; a senior executive
with a tech company; and more. Melinda understands the special challenges her
individual clients face and quickly gains their trust.
Melinda is called upon regularly to speak at conferences
and law schools, as a keynote speaker, panelist, or moderator, on a wide range
of legal and career-related subjects.
She is also often asked by media outlets to provide information and
commentary regarding issues ranging from the work of the Special Counsel to
criminal justice reform.