Melissa Petrofsky, Irvine Employment Lawyer

Melissa Petrofsky, Esq.
Employee Rights Attorney

Legal profile


Melissa’s legal career revolves around one idea: empowerment. She has successfully litigated against every major employment defense firm in California. She has sued private employers, religious organizations, and government agencies. She doesn't shy away from a fight.

She has prosecuted claims in courthouses across the state, as well as every major arbitration service. She is also on a first-name basis with southern California’s most acclaimed employment law mediators, including retired judges.

Melissa is acclaimed as a top-rated employment litigator by Super Lawyers. In Southern California, she is ranked among the top 50 women lawyers and the top 100 lawyers on the organization's 2017 “Up-And-Coming” lists. She also earned the coveted Southern California Rising Stars award in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Keeping her finger on the pulse of the community, Melissa was recently elected as Treasurer and Secretary of the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) Labor & Employment Section. She also serves as Whip for the Legislative Resolutions Committee, where she helps to organize efforts to lobby the state legislature for changes to California employment law. She is also active in the California Employment Lawyers Association, the Orange County Women Lawyers Association, and the American Bar Association.

Melissa has prevailed in countless court proceedings. In fact, she has never lost a dispositive motion before any judge, in either state or federal court. Always a zealous advocate, she understands that every case is a person’s life. While she has successfully managed large caseloads, Melissa's commitment to helping individuals means that she prefers to provide boutique-style legal services to a smaller client roster.

Personal bio


Melissa was born and reared in St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, with a degree in education. In 2003, Melissa felt compelled toward law. She went to school part-time, while working full-time. She juggled clinical opportunities, achieved dean’s list, and also performed law journal duties.

Melissa has worked pro bono for numerous causes, including multiple years as a volunteer and supervisor at the juvenile advocacy clinic.She also represented children with special needs in multiple school districts.

During law school, Melissa clerked for a prominent employment law firm. Her work there sparked a lifelong passion for worker’s rights advocacy. Since then, Melissa has devoted her considerable skill and zeal to fighting for the disenfranchised.

Melissa has a close-knit family and warm circle of friends. She is also a loving pet parent of two rescue cats and frequently supports animal rescue causes.