Melissa Jackson Howell, Esq.
Ms. Howell has been recognized by numerous organizations for her experience, professionalism and client satisfaction. She has been selected:
- Top Forty Under 40 by Inside Business;
- Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law;
- A “Rising Star” and “Super Lawyer” by Virginia Super Lawyers;
- A Member of the Virginia Legal Elite and one of the Top 50 Women Attorneys in Virginia by Virginia Business Magazine;
- Top Lawyer of Coastal Virginia by Coastal Virginia Magazine;
- A “Top Litigation Lawyer Under 40” and one of the “Top 100 Litigation Lawyers in Virginia” by the American Society of Legal Advocates;
- One of “Washington D.C.’s Women Leaders in the Law” by Martindale-Hubbell;
- A “Woman of Outstanding Leadership” by the International Women’s Leadership Association;
- Premier 100 Trial Attorneys in Virginia by the National Academy of Jurisprudence; and
- A “Famous Former” by the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast.
- She earned an “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubbell; a “Superb” ranking by Avvo; and has led her firm to receive the
- Virginia Excellence Award from the US Institute for Excellence in Commerce.
For more than a decade, her practice has focused on counseling clients on routine and complex employment issues, including compliance and litigation avoidance; negotiating and litigating employment and contract-based disputes in federal and state courts; representing clients through alternative dispute processes; and composing and defending employment-related agreements, including restrictive covenant agreements (noncompetition, non-solicitation, confidentiality agreements, etc.).
The matters she has negotiated, mediated and litigated include the following:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII)
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN);
- Equal Pay Act
- The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) and various other Federal and state laws and regulations.
She has practiced in forums including:
- Federal and Virginia state courts;
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- The United States Department of Labor (DOL)
- The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI)
- The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC); and
- The Virginia Department of Health (VDH).
Ms. Howell is currently a member of the Federal Bar and Virginia Bar Associations, and is President of the Chesapeake Bar Association. She is a member of Rotary International and the Chesapeake Rotary Club. Ms. Howell is President of the South Hampton Roads Alumni Chapter of Christopher Newport University and sits on the CNU Alumni Board of Directors. She also sits on the CNU Educational Foundation Board and has taught in the Government Department at CNU. Finally, Ms. Howell serves on the Board and Chairs the Public Policy Committee for the National Association of Women Business Owners, Southeastern Virginia Chapter(NAWBO SeVA) as well as serves on the Sponsorship Committee for the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Hampton Roads Chapter.
Ms. Howell is admitted to practice law in all courts in the Commonwealth of Virginia, before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.
She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Christopher Newport University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the College of William & Mary School of Law.
Ms. Howell is deeply rooted in the Hampton Roads business community and often speaks on labor and employment issues.