Melissa Clarke advises global clients large and small on employment law best practices.

In addition to helping clients comply with municipal, state, and federal regulations, Melissa focuses upon managing compensation and equity issues, litigation avoidance, day-to-day employee relations issues, issues pertaining to managing remote workers, and severance and separation matters. She has developed and delivered thousands of training modules to clients, including courses in performance management, anti-harassment, diversity and inclusion, documenting employee issues, wage-and-hour compliance, employee leaves of absence, and management basics. Melissa also has extensive experience preparing companies for financing rounds, mergers and acquisitions, and initial public offerings. She further specializes in advising emerging companies with an emphasis on software, healthcare, and fintech.

In addition to her employment law counseling work, Melissa represents clients in a variety of early-stage litigation matters, including claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation, disability accommodation, wage-and-hour violations, benefits administration, and claims pertaining to trade secrets and confidential information.


Before joining Payne & Fears, Melissa helped spearhead Seyfarth Shaw’s emerging companies group in the firm’s Boston office. She was General Counsel for, and began her legal career at Silicon Valley’s Gunderson, Dettmer, working with hundreds of emerging and public companies in managing their human capital.

Melissa devotes much of her time to community activities, including serving as former President of the Amherst Alumni Association of Northern California, as a past member of the San Francisco Ballet’s Auxiliary, and representing a variety of nonprofits in pro bono matters.