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Melissa Z. Kelly

Cleveland, OH | D 216.696.2067 | F 216.592.5009

Melissa Kelly draws on her years of experience as a federal clerk to provide clients realistic and practical advice on a variety of legal issues, particularly in the areas of labor and employment, appellate, and medical and pharmaceutical liability.

Melissa has experience in FLSA collective actions, employment discrimination, disability discrimination, and employee benefits cases. She has drafted briefs and motions addressing collective active class certification and regulations implementing the FLSA, the constitutionality of tort reform statutes, the application of sovereign immunity statutes, and the admissibility of expert testimony in medical malpractice and pharmaceutical liability cases.

Before joining Tucker Ellis, Melissa served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Peter W. Hall, Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and, later, for Magistrate Judge Nancy A. Vecchiarelli of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. She also served as a staff attorney and immigration staff attorney for the Second Circuit.

An adjunct professor of legal writing at The University of Akron School of Law, Melissa enjoys introducing first-year law students to the power of effective legal argument.

In her spare time – when she’s not cheering on her beloved Cleveland Browns – Melissa enjoys music, all things Irish, and hiking with her husband, Michael, and two sons, Declan and Faustin.

education & admissions


  • The University of Akron School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2003); Moot Court; Appellate Legal Clinic
  • New York University (B.A., magna cum laude, 1999); Phi Beta Kappa; Alumnae Award; Dean's Undergraduate Research Fund Award

state admissions

  • Ohio, 2004

federal admissions

  • United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio
publications & events

Speaking Engagements

  • "The Evolution of Title VII's Protected Classes," 19th Annual Labor & Employment Law Conference, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Cleveland, Ohio (May 2019)
  • "The Supreme Court Year in Review," 2018 In-House Counsel Summit, Tucker Ellis LLP, Cleveland, Ohio (October 2018)
  • "The Supreme Court Year in Review – 2016-2017 Term: Mapping the New Court's Uncertain Course," 2017 In-House Counsel Summit, Tucker Ellis LLP, Cleveland, Ohio (October 2017)
  • "U.S. Supreme Court Round-Up," 2016 In-House Counsel Summit, Tucker Ellis LLP, Cleveland, Ohio (October 2016)


in the community

Civic & Professional Involvement

  • Akron Bar Association
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Ancient Order of Hibernians
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