Melissa is a shareholder at Daly & Black where she manages the firm’s appellate docket. Melissa’s practice focuses on representation of policyholders in first-party residential and commercial property damage disputes and life insurance cases.
Melissa serves as lead counsel for the firm’s clients in appeals of jury verdicts and dispositive motions, interlocutory appeals, and original proceedings. She is also frequently called on by lawyers outside of Daly & Black to consult on and assist with first-party appellate issues. Melissa has presented oral arguments to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court, and many of the Texas intermediate courts of appeal.
Although she primarily handles briefing and argument of appeals and dispositive motions, Melissa still enjoys trial work. In 2021, she was part of the Daly & Black trial team that secured a verdict of almost $120 million — the largest in the nation that year in an insurance suit — in the trial of a life insurance case in Jefferson County, Texas.
Prior to joining Daly & Black in 2014, Melissa worked for two large international law firms and a respected boutique firm where she handled a variety of litigation and appellate matters including complex commercial disputes, civil rights cases, and personal injury suits.
Melissa graduated from Baylor University in 1994 with a degree in French. She graduated cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center in 1998, where she was an Articles Editor for the Houston Law Review, a member of Order of the Barristers, and a Constitutional Law teaching assistant. She also had a very successful career as a competitor in state and national mock trial tournaments throughout all three years of law school.
Melissa’s involvement with student trial advocacy – which dates back to high school in the 1980s – has continued throughout her 25 years of practice. She has served as a coach for undergraduate and law school mock trial teams, directed high school and law school mock trial tournaments, chaired the high school mock trial program committee for a local bar association, and judged too many competitions to count. She currently teaches and coaches mock trial at the high school she attended. In 2023, her second year as coach, the team won its regional competition and advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 2002.
In her spare time, Melissa is an avid tennis player, runner, traveler, and baker. She has two children in college and one in high school.
- University of Houston, J.D., cum laude, 1998
- Houston Law Review
- Order of the Barristers
- National Trial Competition Runner-Up, 1997
- Texas Invitational Champion & Best Advocate, 1996
- ATLA Regional Mock Trial Champion, 1996
- Baylor University, B.A., 1994