Melissa C. Bender

Partner

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  • JD, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 1999
  • AB (English), Stanford University, 1994

Qualifications

  • California, 2014
  • Massachusetts, 2001
  • Honorable David M. Ebel, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • IFLR 1000 (2022-2023)
  • Legal 500 (2020)
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2020-2022)
  • The Daily Journal “Top Women Lawyers” (2019)

Melissa C. Bender

Partner

Melissa is a partner in the asset management group. She advises hedge funds, credit funds, and other private funds on all aspects of their business, with a focus on helping sponsors with fund formation and regulatory compliance matters. Named to Daily Journal’s “Top Women Lawyers” list in 2019, Melissa has been praised for “making her mark with hedge funds.” Her clients also include U.S. and international institutional investors, endowments, funds of funds, private foundations, sovereign wealth funds and family offices.

Melissa practices at the cutting edge of fund work and is recognized in her field as a member of the Legal 500, IFLR1000 and in Band 5 by Chambers. She has launched numerous funds using novel hybrid structures, advises clients extensively on cryptocurrency, digital assets and Fintech matters, and counsels clients on environmental, social and governance (ESG) and responsible investing. Based on the West Coast, Melissa also advises clients on California laws that affect asset managers, including in the areas of carbon credits, privacy and lobbying.

Clients come to Melissa for elegant and pragmatic solutions, which they describe as encompassing “not only legal advice but also valuable market insights.” They also appreciate her in-house perspective, honed during her tenure as counsel at a Fortune 500 company.

Melissa values building and managing diverse teams, and is a much sought-after mentor by junior lawyers. To connect women within the asset management industry, she launched the Ropes & Gray Women in Asset Management Network (WAMN), which regularly hosts networking events in the Bay Area. Melissa also leads the firm’s crypto blockchain task force, which is composed of more than eighty lawyers working across multiple practice groups and is dedicated to providing training, knowledge management and top tier client service in the digital asset space.

Publications

Presentations

  • Panelist, 2022 Regulatory Conference: ESG Updates, Ropes & Gray Webinar (September 28, 2022)
  • Panelist, 2021 Regulatory Conference: ESG Updates, Ropes & Gray Webinar (October 27, 2021)
  • Panelist, Structuring Market Event and Opportunistic Funds, GAIM Ops Connect (October 2, 2020)
  • Moderator, Asset Management Regulatory Conference, Ropes & Gray San Francisco Office (November 18, 2019) 
  • Panelist, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): Key Compliance Considerations, Ropes & Gray Webinar (November 12, 2019)
  • Panelist, Hybrid Funds: Features and Trends, CalALTs Table Talks Silicon Valley (November 4, 2019)
  • Panelist, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Roundtable Discussion, Ropes & Gray New York Office (October 7, 2019)
  • Panelist, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Roundtable Discussion, Ropes & Gray San Francisco Office (October 1, 2019)
  • Panelist, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Roundtable Discussion, Ropes & Gray Silicon Valley Office (September 30, 2019)
  • Panelist, Hybrid Funds: Features and Trends, CalALTs Table Talks Las Vegas (May 7, 2019)
  • Panelist, 100 Women in Finance Event, GAIM Ops Cayman (April 30, 2019)
  • Panelist, Structural Alpha: case studies from hybrid funds and fees, GAIM Ops Cayman (April 29, 2019)
  • Panelist, Hybrid Funds: Features and Trends, CalALTs Table Talks Los Angeles (March 13, 2019)
  • Panelist, Becoming a Signatory to the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment: A How-To Conversation, Ropes & Gray Webinar (March 7, 2019) 
  • Panelist, Cryptocurrencies: Key Regulatory and Enforcement Issues, Ropes & Gray Webinar (July 23, 2018)
  • Panelist, Co-Investing: Best Practices and Avoiding Conflicts of Interest, MFA West (May, 7, 2018)
  • Panelist, Amendments to Form ADV, Ropes & Gray Webinar (January 25, 2018)
  • Panelist, Socially Responsible Investing 101 for Asset Managers, Ropes & Gray Webinar (October 24, 2017)
  • JD, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 1999
  • AB (English), Stanford University, 1994

Qualifications

  • California, 2014
  • Massachusetts, 2001
  • IFLR 1000 (2022-2023)
  • Legal 500 (2020)
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2020-2022)
  • The Daily Journal “Top Women Lawyers” (2019)
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