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Melissa Godwin

Of Counsel

Melissa Godwin represents companies and individuals in complex commercial litigation, internal investigations and regulatory matters and counsels clients on pre-dispute situation management and risk-control.

Prior to joining DLA Piper, Melissa practiced law at a large New York-based international law firm for more than ten years, where she represented global financial institutions and public companies in litigation in federal and state courts.

With a particular focus on Latin American-based clients, Melissa – a Spanish speaker – has also conducted numerous internal investigations and compliance reviews for high-profile, multi-national organizations, advising on a range of white collar matters, including issues related to the FCPA.

Melissa was selected as a Rising Star in the New York Super Lawyer for four consecutive years from 2014-2017.

Bar admissionsNew York
CourtsUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Southern District of New York


Civil Litigation 

  • Represented international bank in connection with breach of contract and gross negligence claims stemming from failed bid for public works project in Chile
  • Represented US-based bank in civil litigation brought by bondholders of Mexican shipping company alleging RICO violations
  • Represented US-based bank in connection with fraudulent inducement and negligent misrepresentation claims by Colombian commodities company relating to its entry into certain currency exchange derivatives trades
  • Represented US-based bank in $500 million dispute with Lehman arising out of Lehman bankruptcy
  • Represented US-based bank in connection with litigation over derivative close-out valuations
  • Represented international bank in connection with terrorism financing claims
  • Represented international logistics company in connection with collection on insurance claims arising from post-merger imposition of significant regulatory penalties by US and international regulators
  • Represented real estate investment fund in dispute with former property manager over management fee
  • Represented various clients in technology, pharmaceutical, and financial industries in connection with securities fraud class action cases
  • Represented data analytics company in lawsuit alleging violation of federal antitrust laws and state consumer protection laws.

Investigations (Compliance/Anti-Corruption) and Regulatory

  • Led pre-acquisition compliance review for US-based private equity firm considering purchase of high-risk target company in Brazilian energy sector
  • Conducted investigation on behalf of special committee of Board of Directors of Chilean mining company into improper campaign “donations” to politicians across Chilean political spectrum
  • Represented consortium of lenders to billion-dollar GSP pipeline project in Peru on an anti-corruption procedure to protect the project from the lead sponsor, Odebrecht, involved in Brazil’s Lava Jato investigation
  • Conducted compliance review for Latin American tech unicorn in advance of IPO on US exchange
  • Advised Colombian energy company listed on US exchange in negotiations with US regulators in connection with release of annual report
  • Represented US-based financial institution in internal investigation of $400 million fraud at Mexican banking subsidiary by Mexican shipping company
  • Represented CFO of US-based financial institution in SEC investigation of institution’s accounting practices.
  • Spanish
  • L.L.B., The University of Adelaide 2005
    with honors
  • B.A., The University of Adelaide 2003

Pro Bono

Melissa has worked on a number of pro bono matters of significance, including:

  • Representing more than 10,000 plaintiffs in a federal class action (injunctive and damages classes certified) against Suffolk County in connection with unconstitutional conditions of confinement in two county jails over 9-year class period
  • Representing a man serving a life sentence for murder in successful 440.10 motion to vacate conviction after sole eyewitness recanted her testimony

Melissa also serves as the President of The Board of Directors of the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery, a progressive non-profit nursery school based in New York City.