Melissa Jones is the Firm Managing Partner and serves on the firm’s Executive Committee. As the Firm Managing Partner, Melissa is responsible for the operational management of the firm, execution of the firm’s strategy and direction, and oversight of the delivery of legal services and business management of the firm.

Melissa is in the litigation practice group and has extensive experience litigating claims for breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair competition. She has conducted internal investigations for publicly traded and private companies on complex compliance and accounting issues and has represented companies in government enforcement actions, including matters involving the California Attorney General’s office and the Air Resources Board.

Melissa also has extensive experience defending companies in California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65) actions and advises companies on Prop 65 compliance. Her Prop 65 experience includes representing vendors and manufacturers in industries including apparel, footwear, handbags, eyewear, fitness products, children’s products, furniture, electronics, hobby and crafts, automotive, personal care products and accessories, food and dietary supplements and natural foods. She also advises clients on other California regulations.

Melissa served in multiple leadership roles at the firm before starting her service as the Firm Managing Partner in 2020. She has been a member of the firm’s Executive Committee since 2019, the Compensation Committee since 2016 (serving as the Chair in 2018), and previously served on the firm’s Practice Management Committee and as the Managing Partner for the firm’s California offices.

Before joining Stoel Rives, Melissa was a litigation partner at a prominent law firm, where she worked for 10 years. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Melissa has been an active member of the legal community, serving as President to the Sacramento Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, as a Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, the Chair of the Eastern District Conference, a Board Member for Women Lawyers of Sacramento, a Board member for the Alumni Association for UC Davis School of Law, and as a member of the Eastern District’s Judicial Advisory Committee.


University of California at Davis School of Law, J.D., 1999; Order of the Coif (Top 5%); Editor, U.C. Davis Law Review

California State University, Chico, B.A., Political Science, 1995, with highest honors



United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, and Central Districts of California

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


Complex Commercial Litigation, Class Action, and Appellate Experience

  • Obtained favorable resolution for food manufacturer in federal class action involving unfair competition (UCL) and CLRA claims regarding “All Natural” labeling.
  • Obtained summary judgment in California state court for large agribusiness company in complex products liability action.
  • Obtained dismissal in federal court for international supplier of cell culture products on jurisdictional grounds.
  • Successfully defended large agricultural cooperative in federal class action involving false advertising, UCL and CLRA claims; motion to transfer granted (see 2014 WL 4063002 (N.D. Cal. August 14, 2014) and motion to dismiss granted. See 2014 WL 5599989 (W.D. Wash. November 3, 2014).
  • Representation of large agribusiness cooperative in business dispute involving breach of contract claims in federal court; matter ongoing.
  • Representation of manufacturer in business dispute with supplier in litigation involving UCL, fraud, and intentional interference claims; matter ongoing.
  • Defense of Fortune 500 bank holding company in consumer class action involving allegation that defendant’s credit card member agreements violate California consumer protection statutes, including the Unfair Competition Law (§ 17200); motion to dismiss granted. See 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17113; 2008 WL 648177 (N.D. Cal. 2008).
  • Representation of large nonprofit organization in action against California state agency in federal court; obtained preliminary injunction based on Supremacy Clause claims.
  • Defense of international accounting firm in fraud, professional malpractice, and breach of contract action in San Francisco Superior Court; case settled on favorable terms on the eve of trial.
  • Defense of corporate executive in Sacramento Superior Court in matter involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligence, and breach of contract relating to partnership dispute; resolved through mediation on favorable terms.
  • Defense of Fortune 500 insurance company in cases throughout the U.S. alleging fraud, breach of contract and unfair competition (including § 17200 claims) regarding 412(i) defined benefits plans; cases resolved successfully through settlements and dismissals.
  • Representation of software developer in contract dispute with importer/distributor; settled on favorable terms on eve of arbitration.
  • Defense of Board member and Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in fraud and breach of contract action against the Oakland Raiders in five-month jury trial and subsequent appeal; verdict and appeal resulted in total victory for both clients. See OACC, Inc. v. Oakland Raiders, 144 Cal. App. 4th 1175 (2006).
  • Representation of e-discovery software provider in contract dispute with client; settled on favorable terms after mediation.
  • Defense of Fortune 500 company in employment litigation matters including claims of sexual harassment, failure to accommodate disability and wrongful termination; successfully resolved via settlement after filing motion for summary judgment.
  • Argued three pro bono matters before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, including matter creating new law on the imminent danger exception. See, e.g., Andrews v. Cervantes, 493 F.3d 1047 (9th Cir. 2007); Huftile v. Miccio-Fonseca, 410 F.3d 1136 (9th Cir. 2005).

Proposition 65 Defense and Compliance

  • Defense of large and small companies regarding alleged Prop 65 violations concerning: food, spices, nutritional and dietary supplements, juice, coffee, handbags, apparel, footwear, belts, personal care products, exercise equipment, sporting goods, tools, eyewear and sunglasses, hair-care items and accessories, luggage and travel goods, cell phone accessories, steering wheel covers and automotive accessories, children’s clothing, mattress and foam pads, car seats, furniture, footwear and costumes, and hobby and craft items.
  • Regularly assists companies with Prop 65 advice and compliance issues, including development of testing protocol and comprehensive product safety compliance programs.

Internal Investigations, Government Enforcement Proceedings, and Federal Criminal Defense

  • Defense of fueling systems manufacturer at trial against California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) and South Coast Air Quality Management District in Los Angeles Superior Court in which plaintiffs sought $25 million in penalties and fees; obtained complete defense verdict after trial.
  • Successfully obtained dismissal of action for Fortune 100 oil and gas company and co-defendants in $80 million breach of contract and fraud action filed by the California Attorney General’s Office in Sacramento Superior Court.
  • Represented cardiologist in defense of high-profile federal fraud investigation. Government declined to prosecute after years of pre-indictment advocacy.
  • Defense of large food manufacturer in enforcement action in California concerning alleged nonfunctional slack fill in packaging; obtained a favorable settlement.
  • Defense of Col. Youa True Vang in federal prosecution involving allegations that Col. Vang and other defendants attempted to overthrow the government of Laos, as well as related weapons charges; government ultimately dismissed all charges against all defendants.
  • Defense of former CEO of publicly traded company in criminal matter involving allegations of narcotics use and distribution; government declined prosecution.
  • Conducted internal investigation for Audit Committee of publicly traded company in first case involving stock options backdating allegations.
  • Conducted internal investigation for Audit Committee of publicly traded company in action involving allegations of accounting fraud.
  • Conducted internal investigation for large trade association regarding allegations of conflict of interest and fraud by executive.
  • Provided pre-indictment advocacy for executive of pharmaceutical company accused of off-label marketing.
  • Conducted multiple internal investigations for university system regarding alleged violations of university policies and state and federal laws.


Insights & Presentations

  • “Leadership Mindset: A Year of Yes,” Global Leaders in Law Women’s Day Exchange, ALM, New York, NY, February 2, 2023
  • “Prop 65 Changes Coming That Could Cause Headaches For Businesses,” Stoel Rives Legal Alert, April 14, 2021
  • “What Your Company Needs to Know About Social Media Influencers” (co-authored with Bao Vu), The Legal Intelligencer, August 29, 2019
  • “Key Changes for California’s Proposition 65 Effective August 30, 2018,” Stoel Rives Legal Alert, June 29, 2018
  • “New Prop 65 Warning Label Requirements Take Effect This August—Is Your Company Ready?” Footwear Retailers and Distributors of America, Webinar, June 28, 2018
  • “What You Need to Know About California’s Proposition 65,” 2017 RVCF Annual Fall Conference, Phoenix, AZ, November 6, 2017
  • “Navigating the Complex Patchwork of State Chemical Safety Laws: Proposition 65,” Footwear Innovation, Trade & Compliance in the Age of Enforcement, Long Beach, CA, October 24, 2017
  • “Environmental Hazard Compliance in Sale of Goods: California’s Prop 65 and Safer Consumer Products Act,” Strafford Webinar, January 19, 2016
  • “Air & Toxics: Forthcoming Changes and Developments Impacting Environmental Law in California,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, 14th Annual Environmental Law Fall Symposium, Los Angeles, CA, November 6, 2015
  • “Power To The Plaintiffs in Prop 65 Proposals,” Law360, September 11, 2015
  • “The Essential Elements of Internal Investigations,” California Construction and Industrial Materials Association, 2014 Annual Education Conference, San Diego, CA, November 4, 2014
  • Moderator, “Supply Chain Transformation in Response to Chemicals & Safer Products Regulations,” 5th Safer Consumer Products Summit, San Francisco, CA, October 24, 2014
  • “Product Safety Regulatory Tour,” Footwear Traffic and Distribution Customs Conference, Long Beach, CA, October 20, 2014
  • “Prop. 65 Update,” Tenth Annual Nutritional Law Symposium, UT, September 12, 2014
  • “Product Safety Regulatory Tour: New Laws, Trends, and Updates,” FDRA Product Safety & Environment Workshop, Seattle, WA, July 17, 2014
  • Panelist, “Complying with California’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations—Immediate Changes,” Safer Consumer Products Summit, Santa Clara, CA, May 7, 2014
  • “Product Safety Regulatory World Tour,” FDRA Product Safety & Environment Workshop, Boston, MA, April 10, 2014
  • “Legislation and Rulemaking of Food and Beverages: Lots of Noise but Slow Progress,” Challenges Facing the Food and Beverage Industries in Complex Consumer Litigations, Perrin Conferences, Chicago, IL, April 8, 2014
  • “What Natural Products Manufacturers Need to Know About Proposition 65,” Anaheim, CA, March 8, 2014


  • Selected by the Sacramento Business Journal as one of its “Women Who Mean Business,” 2020
  • Selected by the Sacramento Business Journal as “Best of the Bar,” 2014–2019
  • Selected by the Sacramento Business Journal as a “40 Under 40” leader, 2012
  • Listed in Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyers, 2016–2019, 2022
  • Selected by the Los Angeles Daily Journal and San Francisco Daily Journal as one of the “Top 100 Women Lawyers” in California, 2011
  • Listed among Northern California Super Lawyers® (Business Litigation, Environmental Litigation, General Litigation), 2014–present
  • Listed in Northern California Super Lawyers® in Top 50 Women Lawyers, 2016–2017, 2019–2020
  • Listed in Northern California Super Lawyers® in Top 25 Sacramento Lawyers, 2016–2017, 2019–2021
  • Listed among Rising Stars (Business Litigation, General Litigation, Environmental Litigation), Northern California Super Lawyers®, 2009–2013
  • Selected, “Bar Register of Women Lawyers,” Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers, 2011
  • Wiley W. Manuel California State Bar award for pro bono service, 2005, 2007–2009
  • National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) Outstanding Law Student Award, 1999
  • Wall Street Journal Achievement Award, Business Law, 1999



  • U.C. Davis Law School Alumni Board of Directors, Former Board Member
  • Sacramento Region Innovation Awards, Former Co-Chair
  • Federal Bar Association, Sacramento Chapter: Former President; Former Vice President/President-Elect; Former Secretary; Former Programs Co-Chair; Former Programs Committee; Member, 2007–present
  • Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative, Former Member
  • Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative Coordinating Committee, Former Member
  • Planning Committee for the Eastern District Conference, Former Co-Chair
  • Judicial Advisory Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Former Member
  • Women Lawyers of Sacramento, Career Advancement and Retention Committee, Former Board Member and Co-Chair; Former Vice Chair, Career Advancement and Retention Committee 
  • Prop 65 Clearinghouse, Former Advisory Board
  • Open Doors to the Federal Courts, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California: Former Organizer; Former Volunteer
  • American Bar Association, Women Rainmakers Committee, Member
  • Sacramento County Bar Association: Former Affiliate Board Member; Member, Appellate Section, 2008–present
  • Appellate Advocacy, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, Former Instructor
  • Milton L. Schwartz Inn of Court, Former Barrister
  • Jessup International Moot Court Team, U.C. Davis School of Law, Former Coach
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