Melissa focuses her practice on a broad range of international trade matters, including export controls, OFAC sanctions, regulation of emerging technologies, digital trade, CFIUS, tariffs and national security issues involving several U.S. agencies, both civil and criminal. She advises multinational companies across a wide range of sectors, including technology, financial, manufacturing, consumer goods, and energy. Melissa counsels clients on day-to-day compliance operations, and she advocates daily before the U.S. government, in coordinating meetings for clients with regulators, drafting requests for regulatory guidance, preparing export and sanctions license requests, advising on rulemakings, preparing commodity classification and jurisdiction requests, counseling on tariff strategies, and investigating and preparing complex voluntary disclosures.

Melissa began her legal career in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of the General Counsel, where she discovered her enthusiasm for talking with engineers. She has since developed extensive experience across the technology sector, having built deep relationships with clients in the cybersecurity and encryption, software, autonomous vehicle, sensor and artificial intelligence, gaming, computer, telecom, satellite, semiconductor and network infrastructure industries.

Melissa is highly regarded in her area of practice, presenting and publishing regularly on international trade and technology regulations. She has been ranked as “Up and Coming” by Chambers USA (2021) and is described as having “a very good technical understanding of the regulations.” She is also consistently recognized by The Legal 500 and was appointed to Law360's International Trade Editorial Advisory Board. Melissa was recognized as one of Washington DC’s leading female attorneys by DCA Live’s Emerging Women Leaders in Law (2022). She was also recently appointed to the U.S. Department of State’s International Digital Economy and Telecommunication (IDET) Advisory Committee where she advises and provides strategic planning recommendations on digital economy, digital connectivity, economic aspects of emerging digital technologies, telecommunications and communication and information policy matters. She has given presentations at numerous conferences and webinars held by the International Bar Association, the American Conference Institute, Bloomberg, the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) and a Silicon Valley private equity general counsel forum. Melissa has given live interviews for BBC World News and the Associated Press and has been quoted several times in the Washington Post and other mainstream media outlets, provided commentary for Law360 and the Global Investigations Review, and is on the board and a frequent contributor to World Export Compliance Review (WorldECR).

Melisa also has done significant work on pro bono matters, focusing on the representation of arts organizations and other nonprofit entities in Washington, D.C.

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  • Representative Experience*
    • Counseling a major automotive manufacturer on trade controls applicable to its autonomous vehicle program, including its use of artificial intelligence, sensors, navigation technology and advanced data analytics
    • Advising a leading U.S. developer of advanced semiconductor technology, materials and chips on all aspects of international trade compliance
    • Advising a U.S.-based semiconductor services company on U.S. trade controls applicable to its overseas operations
    • Advising a U.S.-based network security company that produces firewalls, other network appliances and advanced security software, on all aspects of trade compliance, including encryption classification, reporting and licensing requirements, technology transfers, TAA compliance for federal procurement and national security regulations
    • Representing a network infrastructure company on encryption regulations, TAA compliance for federal procurement, strategies for mitigating the impact of Section 301 China tariffs and sanctions compliance
    • Counseling a global software development company on the build-out of an enhanced trade compliance program following a merger that doubled the company’s size
    • Advising a major global services provider on its deployment of cloud-hosted SaaS, including advice on screening protocols, sanctions compliance, technology transfer rules, and export controls applicable in the cloud environment
    • Perform complex encryption control assessments for a global computer manufacturer
    • Seconded to work as in-house counsel for four months at an international satellite services company; drafted an export compliance manual and forms; provided in-house training; performed encryption analysis and export control classifications on products and components; and implemented new procedures
    • Conducted a wide-scale internal investigation for a global distributor of high-tech products, covering sanctions compliance and export controls involving their China operations, leading to the preparation and submission of voluntary disclosures before the Commerce and Treasury Departments
    • Conducted a year-long trade compliance investigation for a global consumer technology company, involving a Commerce Department subpoena and a federal criminal inquiry, concerning the company's Middle East distributors and sanctions compliance
    • Advised a global manufacturer of advanced materials on the export control strategy for its entire U.S. product line, including preparation of commodity jurisdiction and classification requests, submission of public comments in response to rulemakings, leading meetings with senior government officials and company management and successfully achieving decontrol of materials used in satellite solar panels
    • Advised a global video game developer on sanctions and export compliance issues relating to its distribution of cloud-hosted software applications
    • Advised a global gases and engineering company on its U.S. sanctions compliance strategy and its ongoing export control matters
    • Counseled multinational companies with operations and investments in Russia on compliance with new sanctions laws and contingency planning for potential escalation in sanctions
    • Participated in a week-long trip to Cuba with a group of U.S. sanctions practitioners to meet with Cuban government officials and representatives from local industry regarding sanctions-compliant opportunities for U.S. persons in Cuba
    • Developed global compliance manuals for a foreign bank relating to sanctions, anti-money laundering and diamond trafficking
    • Advised a U.S. bank on Russia sanctions compliance and due diligence into Russian affiliated investors relating to a major infrastructure finance project
    • Counseled an EU-based bank on compliance with U.S. sanctions and anti-money laundering laws in relation to certain investment activities disclosed in the Panama Papers matter
    • Advised a U.S. bank, for purposes of a financing agreement, on compliance with the “temporary sojourn” license exception applicable to U.S. origin aircraft
    • Provided U.S. compliance analysis to a foreign bank regarding sanctions against North Korea, in the context of a trust established to collect defaulted syndicated loans
    • Advised a major foreign oil and gas company on compliance with U.S. laws applicable to an ongoing project in Russia that became subject to sectoral sanctions
    • Represented clients in parallel criminal and civil export control investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Commerce, including resolution of criminal cases through the sentencing phase
    • Prepared a white paper for circulation within the White House and senior levels of administrative agencies on behalf of clients, relating to military electronics and export control reform; resulted in an overhaul of the relevant Commerce Department regulation

    *Includes experience from a previous firm

  • Publications and Speaking Engagements

    Melissa is a prolific author and an in-demand speaker at seminars on trade regulation issues. Recent examples include:

    • “Being a White-Hat Hacker Just Got Tougher: U.S. Commerce Department Issues New Cybersecurity Export Controls on Intrusion and Surveillance Tools,” The Computer & Internet Lawyer, February 2022 (author)
    • “U.S. Government Targets Foreign Cloud and Software Service Provider in Multi-Agency Trade Enforcement Action,” The Computer & Internet Lawyer, September 2021 (author)
    • “China's New Blocking Statute and Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law,” Strafford, July 2021 (panelist)
    • “A Complete Roadmap to Applying EAR and ITAR Encryption, Cyber and Cloud Controls in Real-Life,” ACI's 11th Advanced Forum on Global Encryption, Cloud & Cyber Export Controls, March 2021 (panelist)
    • “Sanctions and Tech: Managing the Global Digital Technology Divide,” ACAMS Sanctions Space Summit, March 2021 (panelist)
    • "Flurry of Export Control Activity from the U.S. Government," The Institute of Export and International Trade, January 2021 (author)
    • "Global Sanctions Compliance Programs: When and How to Use a Common Baseline,“ World Export Compliance Manager, 2021 (author)
    • “How to Avoid Sanctions Complications During M&A,” American Conference Institute, December 2020 (panelist)
    • “White House, Congress Signal Potential Crackdown on Slave Labor, Trade Law Violations,” National Law Journal, October 2020 (author)
    • "Department of Justice Revises Policy on Voluntary Self-Disclosures of Sanctions and Export Violations," ABA Criminal Justice Section’s The State of Criminal Justice 2020, July 2020 (panelist)
    • "Compliance Masterclass: Mapping your company’s export-controlled technology," World Export Compliance Manager, 2020 (author)
    • "Beyond Brexit: navigating the US-UK trade partnership in uncertain times," World Export Compliance Review (WorldECR) Journal, 2020 (author)

Education & Admissions

J.D., cum laude, Georgetown University Law Center
Managing editor of Georgetown Immigration Law Journal

B.A., with honors, Principia College

Admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York

Admitted to practice before the United States Court of International Trade


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