Melissa Petrofsky, Esq.

Legal Profile

Employment law has been Melissa’s area of expertise for over a decade. Whether representing a sexual harassment victim, a whistleblower, or the victim of racial profiling, or an employer wrongfully accused of the same atrocities, Melissa uses her wisdom, experience, and empathy to avidly pursue her clients’ rights. Over the years, after working with companies who are just trying to stay afloat in a web of regulations and employee relations issues, Melissa developed a passion for providing small business owners quality legal services at a reasonable rate.

She helps employers navigate through the web of workplace laws and rules, such as contractor classification, proper payment of overtime and other wage and hour issues, sexual harassment training, or leaves of absence (to name a few). She also provides advice and counsel to businesses in applying fair and equitable employee discipline procedures, while minimizing the risk of litigation.

She has prevailed against attacks on the pleading, discovery motions, and dispositive motions. In fact, she has never lost a dispositive motion before any judge in California, in either state or federal court. Her sterling track record is due to her savvy approach: she doesn’t take on a fight that she can’t win.

She has settled cases before every major mediation service provider and every arbitration service. She is also on a first-name basis with many of southern California’s most acclaimed employment law mediators, including retired judges. One of Melissa’s guiding principles is to find the right mediator for each case, which can require months of negotiation with the other side. What Melissa provides every client is the tailored, impassioned advocacy she would provide to a family member.

Melissa’s guiding principle has always been to empower her clients by using her legal skills to advocate for truth and justice. She has represented a multitude of small employers, including an event services organization, a medical research company, a medical group, a franchise, a preschool, and a music school. Melissa approaches every case with zealous representation — she understands that every case is a person’s life or business.

She has successfully managed a robust caseload with as many as 50+ matters simultaneously, as well as teaching Agency and Partnership to law students at Irvine University School of Law. However, her preference is to keep her caseload smaller, in order to provide boutique-style legal services.

Personal Bio

Melissa was born and reared in St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, with a degree in education. In 2003, Melissa felt compelled toward law. She went to school part-time, while working full-time. She juggled clinical opportunities, achieved dean’s list, and performed law journal duties.

Melissa has worked pro bono for numerous causes, including multiple years as a volunteer and supervisor at the juvenile advocacy clinic. She also represented children with special needs in multiple school districts.

Melissa has a close-knit family and warm circle of friends. She is also a loving pet parent of two rescue cats and frequently supports animal rescue causes.  She enjoys spending time exploring new places, museums, and glamping with her fiancé Kwame and her future stepson.