Born and raised in the Yakima Valley of Washington State, Melissa has lived in Oregon for over 15 years. She considers Oregon home, yet, is fortunate to live not to far away from where she grew up. Family still lives in the Yakima Valley. Before becoming a lawyer, she worked in many trades.
As a child, of an immigrant family, she and her family worked in agricultural jobs such as picking/cutting cherries, apples, pears, asparagus and grapes. Melissa’s other work experiences include working in restaurants, banking, retail industry, and property management. She has worked for fortune 500 companies and small businesses. Her experiences include working for McDonald’s and Bank of America as well as teaching Spanish at the college level.
Melissa obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish from Pacific Lutheran University. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Spanish at the University of Oregon before going to law school at Lewis & Clark Law School. Melissa maintained a job throughout attending college. Her strong work ethic was instilled at a very young age.
Today, Melissa enjoys having her own law office and practicing in the areas of law that she enjoys. Melissa’s practice focuses in representing people that have been injured by someone else’s fault—such as car accidents, bike accident, and catastrophic injury cases. She also represents individuals in immigration matters. Her practice in immigration started through the interest of her former clients seeking her out to practice this area of law. Her business law practice has also evolved through former clients seeking and asking her to add this area of law.
Melissa is known for connecting with her clients. For some people, personal activities are important to them, for others it is their career/job. For example, the first time she represented a bicyclist she started biking to be able to understand how the accident impacted her client and why cyclist do certain things—now she and her husband are avid bicyclists.
Similarly, when one of her clients mentioned that she enjoyed running regularly and was significantly affected by a car accident—Melissa started running to understand how stressful it was for her client to get back into her running activities. Another situation, a client who was a landscape owner was injured in a car crash—his shoulder needed to undergo surgery—she sought a friend who has a landscape business and shadowed his employees to see how they did the job, in order to show how that kind of job is really hard work. As a lawyer, Melissa understands how important it is for everyone to live their life as they choose and how insurance companies try to undermine this day after day attempting to prove that these things do not matter. Melissa strives to show that “these things are important and do matter”. She also makes it a personal mission to get to know her business’s clients line of business.
Melissa is fluently bilingual in Spanish—reads, speaks, and writes. She enjoys spending time outdoors and bicycling with her husband. Melissa and her family enjoy exploring Oregon’s outdoor beauty. Melissa and her husband embark on a physical challenge every year to keep themselves mentally and physically fit—like biking century rides, rock climbing, and hiking around Bend and the Gorge. Melissa and her husband also enjoy Latin dancing—it is in their blood and a tradition Latinos tend to pass onto their children. They are Oregon Duck fans and NFL Steeler and Seahawk Fans.
Melissa is licensed to practice in Oregon and the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. Some of the organizations that she belongs to are the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, American Association for Justice, American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, American Association for Justice, and Bicycle Transportation Alliance.