Melissa works closely with entrepreneurs and has a strong track record helping to organize, finance, and build early-stage and emerging growth companies. Her broad experience includes aiding startups in industries as varied as IT, medical devices, clean tech, and mobile applications. She also represents venture capital funds, angel funds, and other investors. Melissa’s broad background helps her lead the firm’s Venture Capital Practice Group and Start-up & Emerging Businesses Practice Group.
Melissa assists early stage, high growth companies with all corporate matters, including formation, fundraising, contract drafting, and negotiation. She also helps devise and implement strategies for successful employee and consultant hiring and compensation.
Clients count on Melissa to help them in capitalization and financing strategies, preparation of employment and consultant documentation, and review of customer/vendor contracts. In addition, she reviews equity and material transfer agreements and provides assistance with the negotiation of term sheets, debt, and venture financing documents.
Aiding in mergers
Melissa successfully aided an accounting firm client, Baker Tilly, with three distinct merger transactions that helped grow their footprint in various parts of the country, including the upper Midwest and the Northeast. No deal for Baker Tilly is ever the same: these mergers were highly complex, involving many moving partners who each have different retirement benefits and vesting schedules. Melissa has also worked to update Baker Tilly’s governing documents and provide employment assistance and guidance for various matters.
Making investments in startups
Melissa’s knowledge of startup companies helps her guide an investment firm in making numerous investments from its fund. Melissa works closely with this firm to complete corporate and legal due diligence, to structure the details of the specific investments in the most favorable way for her client and to negotiate the final investment terms of multiple deals per year.
Experience with IT companies
Software companies in the fields of health, publishing, advertising, and marketing have relied on Melissa’s team for ongoing corporate work, sales transactions, and successful financing transactions. Melissa serves as a trusted advisor to many clients and assists in all facets of their business, including providing:
- Guidance for strategic acquisitions;
- Assistance with hiring and structuring compensation packages for C level executives;
- Assistance with contract review and negotiation;
- Introductions to potential investors and assistance with pitch materials and executive summaries; and
- Guidance as an observer and participant in Company Board Meetings.
While in law school, Melissa served as a judicial intern to Justice N. Patrick Crooks, Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Honors & Recognitions
- The Best Lawyers in America©, Corporate Law, 2021-present
- M&A Client Service All-Star, BTI Consulting Group, 2021
- The Midwest’s Best Lawyers©, Corporate Law, 2021
- 40 Under 40, In Business Magazine, 2018
- 8 to Watch Under 40, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business's Update, Spring 2017
- Up and Coming Lawyer, Wisconsin Law Journal, 2014
- Member, State Bar of Wisconsin
- Member, American Bar Association
- Co-Chair, Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference (2012, 2013, 2015 – 2018)
- Member, Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference Steering Committee
- Member, Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium Steering Committee