Melissa Francis

Partner / NEW YORK,

Area of Specialization

  • Banking and Financial Services
  • Investment and Securities Litigation
  • Litigation and Trial

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 2006
  • New York, 2007
  • District of Columbia, 2011
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and the District of New Jersey
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • The George Washington University Law School, J.D., 2006
  • The University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 2003

Melissa Francis

Partner / NEW YORK

Melissa Francis has a wide-ranging legal practice focusing on complex commercial litigation, banking and finance litigation, securities litigation, and cross-border internal investigations.  She has represented a diverse array of individual and corporate clients before state and federal trial and appellate courts across the country, and has won both bench and jury trials on their behalf.  Ms. Francis has significant experience representing clients in class actions and cases involving breach of contract, business tort, securities, and products liability claims.  She also has substantial experience in arbitrating and mediating commercial disputes.  Ms. Francis serves as a guest lecturer on Administrative Law at the George Washington University Law School.

Ms. Francis also focuses on immigration law, and her contributions and leadership in the pro bono arena have been formally recognized by her clients and colleagues alike.  She has successfully represented numerous refugees in asylum proceedings, including at trial, and spearheaded major relief efforts to assist undocumented youth, victims of crime, and Haitian nationals affected by the 2010 earthquake in obtaining legal status.  Ms. Francis serves on the boards of several prominent legal service organizations, which have described her as being “on fire in her advocacy on behalf of immigrant clients.”  She was a founding member of the Legal Aid Society’s New Leadership Program, serves on the Board of Advocates for Human Rights First, and previously served as Pro Bono Chair of the New York Legal Assistance Group’s Associate Board. 

After serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Lewis R. Carluzzo on the U.S. Tax Court, Ms. Francis joined the New York office of Mayer Brown LLP, where she spent the first decade of her career in private practice as a member of the firm’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution group.  Ms. Francis received her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, where she was Managing Editor of the International Law Review Journal.  She received her B.A. from The University of Pennsylvania.

Representative matters handled by Ms. Francis include:

  • Internal Investigations: Represented leading global financial institution in cross-border internal investigations concerning U.S. tax evasion and FIFA-related allegations; 
  • Breach of Contract: Won week-long jury trial in California Superior Court on behalf of legal recruiter against national law firm in connection with breach of contact action.
  • Common Law Fraud: Represented and secured highly favorable settlement for leading global financial institution in state court action brought by foreign investor asserting fraud-based claims in connection with structuring and marketing of a CDO containing RMBS and tranches of other CDOs;
  • Securities Fraud: Represented former Chief Financial Officer of leading U.S.-based financial institution in connection with federal and state securities fraud class actions and derivative actions;
  • Bankruptcy: Represented leading global financial institution, administrative agent for $8 billion bridge loan, in defense of adversary proceeding brought by committee of unsecured creditors concerning alleged fraudulent conveyance in connection with leveraged buyout; and
  • Product Liability: Represented brand-name pharmaceutical manufacturers in mass tort product liability suits in state and federal courts, and obtained dismissals of failure-to-warn claims against such manufacturers where plaintiffs ingested only generic equivalent.

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