Melissa J. Oretsky

Associate

Education

  • University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 2002, J.D., Participated in and completed the Health Law Certificate Program, which provided specialized study in the area of Health Law and Policy; Member and Articles Editor of the

    Pittsburgh Journal of Technology Law and Policy

  • University of Pennsylvania, 1999, B.A., with honors

Professional Admissions / Qualifications

  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • District of Columbia

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • All State Courts - New Jersey
  • State Supreme Court - Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court - District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court - Middle District of Pennsylvania

Melissa is a member of the firm's Commercial Litigation Group. Her practice focuses on a variety of general and complex litigation matters, counseling clients on a multitude of procedural and substantive litigation issues. Melissa also devotes a large portion of her practice to pharmaceutical products liability and mass tort litigation. She has represented clients in an array of pharmaceutical products litigations including hormone therapy, diet drugs, oral contraceptives, flu vaccine, and NSAIDs. She also represents clients in asbestos litigation. Melissa has experience in all aspects of litigation, including investigations and interviews in anticipation of litigation, intensive discovery and pre-trial motion practice, and witness preparation in matters in both state and federal courts. Melissa has also worked as a team member on several jury trials.

Melissa is also active in the firm's pro bono efforts and has assisted with several pro bono matters. She served as second chair counsel to an indigent litigant in a section 1983 civil rights matter, represented a national non-profit organization in a cy pres matter, and has represented clients in asset forfeiture, replevin, voting rights, name change matters, and supplemental security income benefits appeals. She is currently representing a man on Alabama's death row. In conjunction with the Lawyers Serving Warriors, a project of National Veterans Legal Service Program, Melissa is also currently representing a service member returning from war with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder who has been denied veterans benefits provided by law. In addition, Melissa has also spent the last seven years as a volunteer for Philadelphia Reads, a program geared to improving and enhancing the reading skills of younger elementary school children.

Employment History

  • 2002 - Reed Smith
    • Served as summer associate mentor and summer committee member
    • Served as mentor to new associates
  • 2000 - United States Attorney's Office - EDPA, Health Care Fraud/Abuse Unit, Externship
  • 1999 - District Attorney's Office of Philadelphia, Family Violence & Sexual Assault Unit, Intern
  • 1998 - Women Against Abuse Legal Center, Court Advocate

Honors & Awards

  • Named as one of the 2011 "Lawyers on the Fast Track" by The Legal Intelligencer, an award for being selected as one of 27 of the state's future leaders of the legal community. 
  • Named a 2011 Rising Star by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Magazine and selected for inclusion in the 2011 issue of Philadelphia Magazine "Pennsylvania Super Lawyer - Rising Stars" Edition, a listing which includes the top 2.5 percentage of attorneys in the Commonwealth who are 40 years of age or younger or have been practicing for less than 10 years.
  • Named to the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Pro Bono Roll of Honor in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Professional Affiliations

  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Philadelphia County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • New Jersey State Bar Association
  • Bar Association of the District of Columbia
  • Hearing Committee Member, Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 2008-present
  • Executive Committee Member, Louis D. Brandeis Law Society, 2009-present

Interests

Melissa is very active with the Philadelphia Bar Association and other legal organizations. She is involved with the Young Lawyer's Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association, including participation in events each year for Law Week. Melissa also volunteers each year to serve as a judge for the John S. Bradway High School Mock Trial Competition in Philadelphia. Additionally, she consistently and continually serves as a mentor and panel speaker for the various legal organizations to which she belongs.

In 2008, Melissa was appointed to serve a 3-year term as a Hearing Committee Member for the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. In 2011, Melissa was reappointed for an additional 3-year term to serve as a Senior Hearing Committee Member. As a Hearing Committee Member, Melissa hears cases involving disciplinary matters brought against attorneys by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. She also hears cases involving attorneys seeking readmission to the bar.

Additionally, Melissa serves as an arbitrator in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County’s Compulsory Arbitration Program.

Melissa also serves on the Executive Committee of the Louis D. Brandeis Law Society and currently serves as a member of the Executive Board of the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In March 2011, Melissa served as Co-Chair for the Young Friends Winter Gala, a black-tie event attended by nearly 700 guests. Funds raised through this event support the Young Friends’ mission of art acquisitions and conservation of works in the collections, as well as education and outreach programming.