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WJA 2022: Melissa Powers

Melissa PowersLewis Rice

Like an attorney, she’s not afraid to seek guidance, but Melissa Powers notes that it is doing her own homework which provides a deep understanding of the issues.

“You can always use your resources but I try to stop myself before asking a question in saying ‘Can I figure this out on my own and where can I look?’,” said the 27-year-old SLU alumna. “It isn’t just checking one place. It is ‘What resources do I have that kind of solve this mystery so that I’m really learning rather than just asking and getting an answer and going from there?’”

Powers has been specializing in getting answers for clients in Lewis Rice’s Corporate Department since joining the firm as an associate in 2018. In addition to her legal work on social media, advertising and mergers and acquisitions, Powers operates in the areas of cybersecurity and information technology where she is able to give clients guidance on everything from data privacy management practices to the negotiation of software licensing agreements.

“Melissa also designs and implements privacy and security programs including audit and risk assessments, global policies, national and international data transfer agreements, and innovative structures, processes, and arguments to enable organizations to comply with an increasingly complex global regulatory environment,” said her firm biography.

Growing up in suburban St. Louis, Powers wanted to be a lawyer from an early age.

“My dad was a lawyer, I had some uncles who were attorneys and my grandma had gone back to law school as well,” she recalled. “As I proceeded through school it just sounded more and more interesting to me. I like that it was making a decision without making a decision — meaning you could go to law school and plan to be a lawyer, but you really weren’t cutting off a lot of options. There is still so much you could do with a law degree.”

Given the technology-intensive focus of her practice, Powers said there is a lot of room for different interpretations of the rules.

“A partner or another attorney’s experience doesn’t necessarily give them some advantage over my opinion because these laws are so contemporary and changing that everyone is kind of on an even playing field,” she said.

She also said that she hopes trends in the legal world continue towards more equitable gender representation.

“I’m certainly surrounded by a lot of strong female attorneys at Lewis Rice as well as male attorneys supporting strong female attorneys so I feel blessed to be in the situation I’m in because I think I have a lot of really good examples,” she said.

Women's Justice Awards 2022