Biography

Melissa Jackson Howell, Esq.

Melissa Jackson Howell is the founder of Howell Law Group, PLLC, a Virginia labor and employment law boutique.  Ms. Howell has worked in the legal field in Hampton Roads, Virginia since 1995.  She began practicing with a prestigious regional firm and moved to a national labor and employment law boutique before launching her own firm.  She founded Howell Law Group in order to bring honest, efficient and responsive employment law services to businesses throughout the Commonwealth.

Ms. Howell has been recognized by numerous organizations for her experience, professionalism and client satisfaction. She has been selected:

  • Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law & Best Lawyers, Women in the Law by U.S. News & World Report;
  • Top Forty Under 40 by Inside Business;
  • “Rising Star” and “Super Lawyer” by Virginia Super Lawyers;
  • Virginia Legal Elite & Top 50 Women Attorneys in Virginia by Virginia Business;
  • Top Lawyer of Coastal Virginia by Coastal Virginia Magazine;
  •  “Top Litigation Lawyer Under 40” and one of the “Top 100 Litigation Lawyers in Virginia” by the American Society of Legal Advocates;
  •  “Woman of Outstanding Leadership” by the International Women’s Leadership Association;
  • Premier 100 Trial Attorneys in Virginia by the National Academy of Jurisprudence;
  • Top Attorneys in Virginia by Richmond Magazine;
    “Woman Leader in the Law”, “Washington D.C.’s Women Leaders in the Law” and “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell;
  • “Superb” ranking by Avvo;
    and has led her firm to receive the:
  • Virginia Excellence Award from the US Institute for Excellence in Commerce; and designation by
  • U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Law Firms in America” for Employment Law.

For more than a decade, her practice has focused on counseling clients on routine and complex employment issues, including compliance and litigation avoidance; negotiating and litigating employment and contract-based disputes in federal and state courts; representing clients through alternative dispute processes; and composing and defending employment-related agreements, including restrictive covenant agreements (noncompetition, non-solicitation, confidentiality agreements, etc.).

The matters she has negotiated, mediated and litigated include the following:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII);
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA);
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA);
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA);
  • The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA);
  • The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN);
  • Equal Pay Act;
  • The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA); and
  • Various other Federal and state laws and regulations.

She has practiced in forums including:

  • Federal and Virginia state courts;
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • The United States Department of Labor (DOL)
  • The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI)
  • The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC); and
  • The Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

Ms. Howell served in all capacities on the Executive Board of the Chesapeake Bar Association, including as President, and is a member of both the Federal Bar Association and the Virginia Bar Association.  She has served in Rotary International, the Chesapeake Rotary Club, and as President of the South Hampton Roads Alumni Chapter of Christopher Newport University.  She also previously sat on the CNU Alumni Board of Directors; the CNU Educational Foundation Board; chaired the Public Policy Committee for the National Association of Women Business Owners, Southeastern Virginia Chapter(NAWBO SeVA); and served on the Sponsorship Committee for the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Hampton Roads Chapter.  Finally, Ms. Howell has taught in the Government Department at CNU.

Ms. Howell is admitted to practice law in all courts in the Commonwealth of Virginia, before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Christopher Newport University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the College of William & Mary School of Law.

Ms. Howell is deeply rooted in the Hampton Roads business community and often speaks on labor and employment issues.