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Melissa Vickers has been Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Criminal Defense Law since 2006. She has been practicing for over 24 years and has represented adults and juveniles in every aspect of their criminal cases. She served in management at the Public Defender’s Office for Orange and Osceola County for over 14 years and, in private practice, has experience working on injunction and personal injury cases.

Melissa’s experience in working for a Public Defender’s Office began after her freshman year in college by working summer and winter breaks at the Public Defender’s Office in Jacksonville in the Fourth Circuit. She was responsible for interviewing incarcerated clients and relaying those reports to their respective attorneys. It was that experience that ignited her passion for representing members of her community who were unable to afford their own attorney. During law school Melissa worked part time at the Public Defender’s Office in Fort Lauderdale in the Seventeenth Circuit.

After law school she began her career and served as an Assistant Public Defender in Fort Lauderdale in the Seventeenth Circuit from 1998 to 2001.  Melissa moved to Orlando in 2001 and worked for the Public Defender’s Office for Orange and Osceola County for over 18 years. She was quickly promoted and served in management at that office for over 14 years.  Melissa worked in various management positions such as the Chief Assistant Public Defender, Trials Chief, Felony Chief and Juvenile Chief. As the Chief Assistant Public Defender, Melissa supervised over 130 attorneys and over 50 support staff.  Throughout her years she has supervised, trained and mentored hundreds of attorneys and law students.

Melissa was the recipient of the Joe Durocher Foot Soldier of the Constitution Award, presented by the Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. This award was especially meaningful as Mr. Durocher served as the elected Public Defender in Orange and Osceola County for twenty years. The award is presented to an attorney “who exemplifies the actions of a true criminal defense lawyer.  They fight for their client’s rights, as well as improving the Criminal Justice system as a whole.”  She was also honored with the Franklin Graham Award for outstanding service while at the Public Defender’s Office.

Melissa has served on two Grievance Committees for The Florida Bar and is past Chair of the Criminal Law Committee for the Orange County Bar Association. Melissa is a former 1st Vice President of the League of Women Voters of Orange County and is currently the Chair of the Government Committee. She is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers where she served for years on the Board and as President. She is a member of the George C. Young Inns of Court, Orange County Bar Association, Osceola Bar Association, Central Florida Association of Women Lawyers, Paul C. Perkins Bar Association, Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida, League of Women Voters, and Tiger Bay. Melissa has served as a mentor to young lawyers through the Orange County Bar Association and the Paul C. Perkins Bar Association. She has volunteered as a judge at Moot Court and Mock Trial competitions for the University of Central Florida. Melissa also served as a member of the City of Winter Park Planning and Zoning Board for two years.

Melissa’s Unparalleled Experience

Awards:

  • Joe DuRocher Foot Soldier of the Constitution Award
  • Franklin Graham Award

Associations:

  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Orange County Bar Association, Criminal Law Committee – Past Chair
  • Osceola County Bar Association
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers – Past President, Current Vice President
  • Central Florida Association of Women Lawyers
  • Paul C. Perkins Bar Association
  • Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida
  • George C Young Inns of Court
  • League Of Women Voters – Past Vice President, Past Government Chair
  • Ruth’s List Florida
  • Tiger Bay
  • Kappa Delta Housing Corporation, University of Central Florida –Past Board Member and Legal Advisor

Mentor:

  • Office of the Public Defender, Ninth Circuit
  • Paul C. Perkins Bar Association
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • University of Central Florida Legal Studies Program

Speaking engagements:

  • Orange County Bar Association, Bench Bar Conferences
  • Florida Association of Criminal defense Lawyers, Annual Conference
  • Orange County Bar Association Criminal Law Section CLEs
  • Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers CLEs

Volunteer:

  • Orange County Legal Aid Society
  • League of Women Voters Returning Citizens Project
  • UCF Moot Court Competitions
  • UCF Mock Trial Competitions
  • High School Mock Trial Competitions
  • Teen Court, Orange County
  • Second Harvest Food Bank
  • First Presbyterian Church of Orlando – multiple volunteer organizations
  • Idignity
  • Multiple Community Legal Events for Restoration of Rights
  • Buddy Ball
  • Coalition for the Homeless
  • 1991 – 1995 Office of the Public Defender, Fourth Judicial Circuit, Jacksonville, Florida. Interviewed clients incarcerated in the jail for attorneys during summer and holiday breaks from college.
  • 1994 – Office of the Public Defender, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Tampa. Interviewed client incarcerated in the jail for the attorneys during college.
  • 1996 – 1998 – Office of the Public Defender Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Ft. Lauderdale. Worked in the Intake Unit assessing client mail from jail, interviewing clients, preparing bond motions.
  • 1998 – 2001 – Office of the Public Defender Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Ft. Lauderdale. Certified Legal Intern in Juvenile Division.
  • 1998 – 2001 – Office of the Public Defender Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Ft. Lauderdale. Attorney in juvenile, misdemeanor and felony.
  • 2001 – 2019- Office of the Public Defender, Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange and Osceola County. Began as a felony attorney with a full case load.
    • 2004  – Juvenile Chief – supervised three divisions with ten attorneys, attended   juvenile related criminal justice and community meetings, handles cases in court.
    • 2005  – Felony Chief – supervised ten felony divisions with forty attorneys, attended criminal justice and community meetings, handled cases in court.
    • 2007 – Trials Chief – supervised all trial divisions and their managers (120 attorneys), responsible for attending criminal justice meetings, courthouse security meetings, recruiting staff, communication of hiring and terminations, responsible for transitioning the office to an electronic case management system including training and developing procedures and systems, innovating to meet the needs of the office and auditing attorneys work, handled cases in court.
    • 2017 – Chief Assistant Public Defender – second in command of the office, responsible for day to day operations, supervised all divisions and managers, responsible for training, recruiting staff, communicating hiring and termination decisions, budget decisions, wrote the different training manuals for Attorneys, investigations, social services and support staff, responsible for attending criminal justice meetings and courthouse security meetings, handled cases in court.
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