Office: +44 20 3923 9419
Mobile: +44 7786 066249
Melinda is a Partner in Mlegal’s London office. Her primary focus is the recruitment of partners into AmLaw 100 and top 20 UK law firms. She also helps corporations and investment funds to recruit general counsel and other senior lawyers. Melinda is an expert in diversity recruiting and treats every search as a diversity search.
For the last twenty years, Melinda has recruited for law firms, FTSE and Fortune 500 companies and financial institutions in Europe, Asia Pacific and the United States. Prior to joining Mlegal in 2018, Melinda was a Partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa. She spearheaded the firm’s international expansion between 2000 and 2008, founding its Hong Kong and London offices; and led its EMEA Partner Practice Group from 2008 to 2018. Prior to moving into recruitment in 1997, Melinda was a corporate lawyer with Gilbert + Tobin, Sydney.
In conjunction with her work at Mlegal, Melinda operates a diversity and inclusion consultancy, XX Advantage, which helps advance the careers of female lawyers. Melinda recently co-founded the Reignite Academy, a unique collaboration between six law firms which provides opportunities for city-trained lawyers to return to practice after a career hiatus. Melinda runs networking, professional development and thought leadership events for law firm leaders, general counsel and others who are interested in creating a more diverse and inclusive profession.
Melinda is married with two daughters, practises Ashtanga yoga most mornings and wild-swims at every opportunity.
In The News
The Lawyer, 9 March 2020, Reignite Academy to Expand its Operations into Birmingham and the Bar
Law360, 4 October 2019, Should Law Firms Be Clamoring For Diversity In Recruiters?
Forbes, 2 September 2019, Recruiters Take Note: Women’s Careers Don’t Follow Straight Lines
Financial Times, 14 April 2019, Can You Be a Mother and a Senior Law Firm Partner?
Slater, Laura, ed., Smarter Lateral Hiring. Chapter 6: “Lateral churn – How to increase retention of lateral partners from US and UK firms”, Ark Group, London May 2017
- Co-author, ‘Gender Diversity Hiring – How to Make It Work’ (2018), LinkedIn,
- Co-author, ‘What Makes A Leader?’ (2017), LinkedIn
- Author, ‘Who comes first client or partners?’, September 2015, Legal Business
- Author, ‘The changing landscape for lateral partner moves’, July/August 2014, Legal Business
- Author, Raising the Game, May 2012, Global Legal Post
- Co-author, ‘The Lateral Churn’, October 2011, Managing Partner Magazine
- Author, ‘Globalisation of the Legal Market’ September 2001, In-House Briefing, Asia-Pacific
Select Speaking Engagements
- Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law Inaugural Event, Thomson Reuters Practical Law, May 2018, London
- London market report including section on flexible working in the asset management space, Private Equity Lawyers Forum Annual Meeting, co-presented with Anthony Wiggins, 2017, London
- Regular speaker and panelist at Global Law Firm Leaders Conference or London Legal Market Conference, 2011 to 2017
- Regular speaker, moderator, panelist or facilitator at WILEF and Managing your Career: the XX Advantage events, 2010 to present
- Diversity and Inclusion panel and workshop, Global Law Firm Leaders Conference, Co-moderated with Merle Vaughn, 2017
- ‘Gender Diversity Hiring – How to make it work’, Women Leaders in Life Sciences Law Conference, 2017
- What makes a Leader, Women Leaders in Life Sciences, November 2016, London
- Career Planning for Female Professionals, 100 Women in Hedge Funds, May 2016, London
- Panelist, Legal Business Leadership Round Table, September 2013
- Founder and Managing Director, XX Advantage Ltd, 2018
- Co-founder and Chair, Reignite Academy, 2018
“CMS; Macfarlanes; Orrick; Reed Smith; Sidley Austin and White & Case – The firms set up Reignite Academy to help female lawyers return to corporate law firms after an extended career break. The collaboration between the firms means they can share alumni and bring a scaled response to the challenge of retaining mid-career women in the legal workforce. A further nine firms joined in April 2019.” (Read more about Reignite Academy at The Lawyer or Financial Times)
- Founder, Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) London Chapter, 2015
- Deputy Global Chair, International, WILEF, 2017 – Present
- Deputy Chair, UK Foundation of UNSW Australia, 2015 – 2018
- Committee member, Anglo-Australasian Lawyers Society 2015 – 2018
- Prime Advocates, Advisory Board Member, 2012 to 2016
- Member, Legal Education and Professional Development Committee of the International Bar Association, 2002 – 2010
- Member, Planning Committee for the American Bar Association – International Section 2004 – 2008
- Editorial Board Member, Women in Law, 2006-2007