Melissa Medrano has been with the firm since 2019. Melissa focuses her practice in Toxic/Mass tort, Product Liability Defense, and General Negligence.
As an associate in the Litigation group of our Los Angeles office, share with us your journey into law and your inspiration for pursuing this career path.
I am the daughter of a Salvadoran immigrant and a first-generation college student. My father moved to the United States in the 1980’s to escape Civil War in El Salvador because he wanted to make sure his future children had a better, safer and more secure life. Education was extremely important to him and his work ethic always inspired me. That is what ultimately led me to law school. After college, I took time-off to have my daughter, however I was determined to pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer and be an example of hard work and determination for her like my father was for me. Life came full circle in 2019 when I graduated from Pepperdine School of Law since my father’s first job in America was a dishwasher at Pepperdine. That was such a proud and special moment for both me and him.
How has your practice changed throughout the pandemic and how have you personally pivoted to remain successful despite the global setbacks?
For one thing, I no longer have a 2 hour commute each day (haha). I learned how to prioritize my responsibilities and ask for help because it has certainly been difficult trying to juggle working full-time as a new associate and the challenges the pandemic has created in the realm of parenting. It has made me rethink how to get everything done that I need to do. I continue to grow and develop as an attorney and as a parent as a result of this.
As a Hispanic American in the legal profession, what advice would you give to other Hispanic American attorneys pursuing a similar path? Any memorable life lessons you have learned along the way?
I would say to reach out to other Hispanic American attorneys for mentorship and guidance because it is always helpful to talk to others with similar life experience, and to hear their successes and how they have been able to navigate the legal field.
How do you celebrate or keep your Hispanic roots alive in your daily life?
I feel like I keep my Hispanic roots through Hispanic comfort foods, like tacos, of course! Also I make sure my daughter learns Spanish and stays in touch with my family in El Salvador. Because part of being a Hispanic American is never forgetting those Hispanic roots and the hard work that my family endured to make sure I was able to pursue my dreams.