Melissa Gardner
Partner, San Francisco Office
415 956-1000

Melissa Gardner

Melissa Gardner is a partner in Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco office with a practice focused on digital privacy and consumer protection complex litigation.

A pioneering advocate for personal rights and dignity in every domain, Melissa has been a key player in precedent-setting class actions that have put an end to numerous invasive and misleading corporate business practices, and recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for consumers. Her past and current work includes litigation challenging website tracking technology, mobile device tracking and data sharing software, deceptive design in financial technology apps and software, misuse of identities in online advertising, invasions of email, online messaging, and other electronic communications privacy, platforms that facilitate identity theft and fraud, deficient cybersecurity practices, and other violations of consumer rights, including a recent class action settlement, on the eve of trial, of medical battery claims on behalf of purchasers of allegedly experimental and unreliable medical testing.

Melissa was named a Rising Star for Northern California for seven consecutive years by Super Lawyers, selected for Best Lawyers’ Ones to Watch 2021 inaugural edition and each year since, named to the first edition of Lawdragon 500 X – The Next Generation, and named one of Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers in America in 2023.

Melissa received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she was a semi-finalist in the Harvard Ames Moot Court Competition, as well as a Student Attorney with the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project and South Brooklyn Legal Services. Prior to attending law school, Melissa worked for the Skagit County Community Action agency in Washington State and served for three years with the United States Peace Corps in Tianshui, China.

Long form bio (click to open pdf).

  • Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    J.D. – 2011
    Law Journal: Harvard International Law Journal, Member
  • Western Washington University
    B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) – 2005
  • California, 2013
  • New York, 2013
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 2016
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, 2024
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 2019
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 2013
  • American Association for Justice
  • American Bar Association
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
  • California Women Lawyers, District Governor (2018-present)
  • Consumer Attorneys of California, Leadership Academy (2019)
  • Law360 Editorial Advisory Board, Cybersecurity & Privacy, 2024
  • Ms. JD, Board of Directors (2015-2018)
  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of New York
  • Speaker, “Tricks are for Kids: The Dark Side of Children’s Gaming Apps,”  Harvard Plaintiffs’ Law Association (HPLA), March 2023
  • Speaker, “How the CCPA Relates to Other Existing Laws,” Bar Association of San Francisco Cybersecurity and Privacy Law Conference, November 2020
  • Co-Author, “Play Ball: Potential Private Rights of Action Emerging From the FIFA Corruption Scandal,” 11 Business Torts & RICO News 1, Summer 2015
  • “Ones to Watch,” Best Lawyers, 2021-2024
  • “Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2023, 2024
  • “Lawdragon 500 X – The Next Generation,” Lawdragon, 2023
  • “Rising Star for Northern California,” Super Lawyers, 2017 – 2023