Freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, from excessive force, from unreasonable searches and seizure, from government discrimination. Due process of law.
Melissa Obodzinski is a civil-rights trial lawyer dedicated to holding governments, companies, and individuals accountable for discriminatory actions. She seeks to ensure that all persons enjoy the right to be treated fairly and equally under the law. At her core, Melissa is an advocate—she provides zealous representation to achieve justice for her clients and remedy the individual and societal harms inherent to civil-rights violations.
Melissa completed her undergraduate education at Kent State University, where she graduated with a B.A. in psychology and applied conflict management. She graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 2022.
Her professional career has been guided by a desire to serve and empower others. Before beginning her legal career, Melissa worked for Ohio’s statewide sexual violence coalition, where she served as an advocate for survivors of sexual violence and assisted with the coalition’s public-policy initiatives. Because of her experience in this field, Melissa is a careful and empathetic listener who understands the dynamics of trauma and oppression. She uses these skills to provide holistic legal services to clients and effectively advocate for them at every stage of litigation.
As a lifelong Cleveland resident, Melissa chose to pursue her legal education at Cleveland State University College of Law. There she received numerous academic honors, including special recognition for her academic achievements in the areas ofl egal research and writing, non-profit corporation law, and First Amendment rights. Melissa was also heavily involved in the law school’s student organizations and public-interest initiatives. She served as president of the Student Public Interest Law Organization and treasurer of the LGBTQ+ student organization.
She was also a member of the Racial Justice Work Group and was selected to be a fellow in the Dean’s Leadership Program. As a managing editor of the Cleveland State Law Review, Melissa published an article about the right of persons with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to consent to sexual conduct in Ohio, which was named the journal’s “Best Note” that year.
In 2022, she received the Dean’s Living Justice Honor for her contributions toward fulfilling the mission of “Learn Law. Live Justice.” Melissa has devoted much of her time providing pro bono services to the greater Cleveland community. During law school, she volunteered with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland’s Right to Counsel program and the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court’s Pro Bono Collaborative. In 2022, Melissa received the William A. Blair Service-Before-Self Award for Outstanding Service to the Community and was recognized for by the Ohio Supreme Court and the Access to Justice Foundation for her service to low-income and underserved Ohioans.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
Federal Bar Association
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
Ohio Employment Lawyers Association
Cleveland State University College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2022
Kent State University, B.A., summa cum laude, 2015 (Psychology; Applied Conflict Management)