Associate in Law
- J.D., Yale Law School, 2004
- B.A., Philosophy and English, summa cum laude, Westmont College, 2000
Melissa J. Durkee's research bridges public and private international law. Her current work focuses on corporate participation in international lawmaking, international environmental law, conditions for multilateral treaty-making and compliance, and regulatory theory. Melissa's current article, "Persuasion Treaties" (forthcoming in the Virginia Law Review), is the first in a series of projects that examine business roles in shaping the content and effect of public international law.
Before coming to Columbia, Melissa practiced international litigation and arbitration in the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. She served as counsel to domestic, foreign, and sovereign entities engaged in complex commercial disputes before U.S. courts and international tribunals. Among other matters, Melissa defended the Republic of Argentina in worldwide sovereign debt litigation; litigated a $40 billion attempted hostile takeover by the world's largest mining company; participated in an International Chamber of Commerce arbitration involving corporate control of Brazil Telecom; and represented a major energy company in a bankruptcy litigation challenging the transaction price of a Texas oil and gas subsidiary. She also published work for practitioners on areas of evolving commercial law, and undertook a successful pro bono representation of a Guantánamo detainee. Her client was the first to be released to Algeria from U.S. military custody. Before entering private practice, Melissa clerked for Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Judge Sidney H. Stein on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
While at Yale Law School, Melissa served on the editorial boards of the Yale Law Journal and the Yale Journal of International Law. She studied comparative constitutional law in South America through a Yale-sponsored exchange program, and also held an appointment as a teaching assistant in the Yale University Philosophy Department.
Melissa is admitted to the bar in New York and California.
Persuasion Treaties, 99 Va. L. Rev __ (forthcoming 2013)
Beyond the Guantánamo Bind: Pragmatic Multilateralism in Refugee Resettlement, 42 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 697 (2011)
International Law; Contracts; Business Associations; International Business Transactions; Administrative Law; Environmental Law; Property; Energy Law; Civil Procedure; Conflict of Laws