Melissa is a corporate/commercial lawyer in the firm’s business law group whose practice is primarily in the areas of corporate and commercial law, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity buy-outs, corporate commercial transactions, business combinations, owner-operated enterprises, buy-sell agreements and transactions, shareholder agreements, commercial leasing, commercial financing, corporate governance, franchise law and certain regulatory matters, with a focus on carrying on or operating a business in Manitoba. Melissa understands the value of tailored and practical legal advice. She prioritizes working with her clients to develop and understand their business which enables her to provide sensible advice that is suited to her client’s specific legal and business needs.
- Regularly represents clients in merger and acquisition transactions involving local, national and international businesses.
- Provides assistance to clients with commercial financing, including cross-border financing transactions.
- Regularly advises clients in respect of commercial lease drafting and negotiation in commercial real estate transactions and in connection with broader transactions.
- Provides advice to national and international businesses, private companies, public companies, franchisors and other operations entering the Manitoba market with respect to consumer protection and general regulatory compliance matters, including assisting with the expansion and liaising with local regulators on behalf of an international retailer in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
- Consulted on a leading Manitoba case with respect to interpretation of The Franchises Act, C.C.S.M. c. F156 (Diduck v Simpson, 2018 MBQB 76).
Melissa practises primarily in the area of mergers and acquisitions and corporate and commercial transactions.
Melissa has significant experience in the preparation and review of contracts and agreements, particularly relating to the purchase and sale of businesses in a variety of structures and business combinations, including providing advice to both purchasers, sellers and lenders in connection with share purchase transactions, asset purchase transactions, hybrid transactions, mergers and other business combinations and related transitional matters. Her work extends to incorporation, corporate organization, structural and corporate governance matters, including unanimous shareholder agreements, buy-sell agreements and similar arrangements, tailored to the needs of her clients.
Melissa regularly assists her clients and their businesses with navigating regulatory compliance matters, with a specialty in Franchise Law. In particular, Melissa has significant experience reviewing and providing advice in connection with the preparation and updating of Franchise Agreements, Master Franchise Agreements, Sub-Franchise Agreements and Franchise Disclosure Documents as well as counseling both established and emerging franchisor clients across a broad range of industries for compliance with Manitoba’s franchise and applicable regulatory framework.
Melissa believes strongly in the value of education and mentorship. Prior to and since joining the firm, Melissa has volunteered both formally and informally with the law school at the University of Manitoba, most notably with the legal negotiations workshops and practicum. When the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020 interfered with her ability to participate, Melissa enrolled in and completed the “Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator” offered by Yale University online – to stay sharp.
Melissa has frequently spoken on topics relating to corporate and commercial law, franchise law, legal negotiations, private practice and personal practice management at events for students, practitioners, entrepreneurs and investors.
Melissa is also a regular participant in her “Relay 4 Life” in support of the Canadian Cancer Care Society (and among the top local individual fundraisers in 2021).
- Legal Negotiations Workshop and Seminar Leader, Robson Hall Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba (2015-Present)
- Member, Manitoba Bar Association (2015-Present)
- Member, Canadian Bar Association (2015-Present)
- Guest Lecturer, Instructor, Voluntary Judge and Advocacy Coach, Advanced Criminal Law Course, Criminal Justice (Honours) Program, University of Winnipeg (2012-2017)
- Executive Vice-President, Manitoba Law Students Association (2013-2014)
- Community Outreach Committee Chair, Manitoba Law Students Association (2012-2013)
- Member, Pro Bono Students Canada, Robson Hall Faculty of Law Chapter (2011-2013)
- Co-Author with Steven Kohn, “Manitoba Optometrists Operating Through Professional Corporations” (March 5, 2021)
- Franchise Panel of Experts (presented by Bank of Montreal and FranNet) on March 9, 2020 – “10 Questions to ask before buying a Franchise?”
- Co-Author, “A Quantitative Study of a Drug Treatment Court in a Western Canadian City: Post-Sentencing and Reoffence Outcomes”, Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice, 61(4) 45-68 (2019)
- Co-Author, “Retention and Classification in Drug Treatment Court”, Annual Interdisciplinary Review of Criminal Justice (2018)
- Co-Author, “Accessing Diversion from Custody: Retention and Classification in a Drug Treatment Court,” The Annual Review of Interdisciplinary Justice Research – Volume 7 (2018)
- Co-presenter with Pamela Hilderman, “Restrictive Covenants in a Corporate Transaction and Employment Context: An Overview and Discussion of Emerging Developments,” MBA Presentation for CCCA Section (February 6, 2018)
- Co-author with R. Reis Pagtakhan “Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers: The McDonald’s Case Study (Portillo v Canada)” (October 22, 2014)
- Impact Evaluation of the Winnipeg Drug Treatment Court (and SASSI-III) with Dr. M. Weinrath, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (Winnipeg, 2010)
- Impact Evaluation of the Spotlight At-Risk Youth Program with Dr. M. Weinrath, G. Donatelli and M. Murchison, for Manitoba Corrections (Winnipeg, 2009)
- Presenter, “Due Process as a Disclaimer: A Critical Discussion of Drug Treatment Courts in Canada,” Practising Justice Conference, University of Winnipeg, (May 13-15, 2010)
- Co-presenter with R. Reis Pagtakhan, “Boxing with Kid Gloves: Why Temporary Foreign Workers Must Be Treated Differently than Canadian Employees” HRMAM Connect (HR and Leadership) Conference (October 30, 2014)
- Co-author with Todd W. Thomson and Bradley D. G. Zander, “Significant Amendments to National Instrument 45-106 Exemptions Announced” (March 19, 2015)
- Co-author with Todd W. Thomson and Bradley D. G. Zander “The Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit Program in Manitoba – Are you Eligible?” (April 28, 2015)
- A. Montague Israels, Q.C. Prize Winner (2015)
- Honourable Archibald S. Dewar Prize for Advocacy (2014)
- McIntyre Cup Western Regional Moot Trial Competition Finalist (2014)
- First place, Solomon Greenberg Trial Advocacy Competition (2013)
- Finalist, American Bar Association Regional Negotiation Competition (2013)
- Second place, Robson Hall Negotiation Competition (2013)
- Neil James McDonald Memorial Prize for highest standing in Criminal Law (2012)
- D.A. Thompson, Q.C. Prize for highest standing in Constitutional Law (2011-2012)
- D.A. Thompson, Q.C. Prize for highest standing in Property Law (2011-2012)
- Max & Manly Isaacs Prize for highest standing in Legal Methods (2011-2012)
- Dean’s Honour List, Faculty of Law (2011-2012)