is a senior trial lawyer at the malpractice law firm of Jack H. Olender &
Associates, PC, where she handles catastrophic medical malpractice and personal
injury cases. As an active litigator since 1982, she has tried many cases in
the D.C. and Maryland courts and handled a wide range of complex litigation.
She has settled or won at trial numerous cases resulting in substantial awards
for her clients.
Melissa Rhea has served as president of the Trial Lawyers
Association, D.C. and has been honored as their Trial Lawyer of the Year.
She is the fourth attorney from the Olender firm to receive this honor and the
fifth to serve as the association's president. She is named in the Best
Lawyers in America and Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers by Law
& Politics Magazine.
Ms. Rhea is a longstanding faculty member of the National
Institute for Trial Advocacy and Harvard Law School's Annual Trial Advocacy
Workshop, where she teaches trial advocacy to the law school's second- and
third-year students. She is a member of the Judicial Conference of the District
of Columbia. Ms. Rhea has volunteered hundreds of hours as a mediator and
arbitrator for the Alternative Dispute Resolution programs of the Superior
Court of the District of Columbia. She has also served as a mediation trainer
for the Superior Court's Multi-Door Civil Division and the U.S. Department of
Justice's Civil Division.
A faculty member of the U.S.-Africa Legal Exchange, Ms. Rhea
has traveled five times to Central Africa to train judges and lawyers in the
region on the use of mediation as a means of resolving civil disputes. She was
also part of a delegation that traveled to Romania to teach mediation
techniques to dozens of attorneys from that country.
Ms. Rhea has been an active participant in the Street Law
Program at H.D. Woodson Sr. High School. In addition, she has been a mentor
with the Georgetown University Law Center's Street Law Project and the D.C.
Public School Moot Court Competition. She is a member of the Bar Association of
the District of Columbia, Maryland Trial Lawyers Association, Association of
Trial Lawyers of America, and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice.
Melissa Rhea graduated cum laude from Washington
University in 1979, and received her J.D. from American University Washington
College of Law in 1982.
Ms. Rhea is a member of the Bars of the District of Columbia
and Maryland, and has been admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C.
Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit; U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia; U.S. District Court, Maryland District; and U.S.
Bankruptcy Court, District of Maryland.