Melanie Partow



Melanie T. Partow is an experienced civil rights and international human rights litigator.  Her legal career draws from the perspectives of prosecutor, victims’ advocate, defense attorney, and scholar.

Following law school, Ms. Partow clerked for International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, whose office prosecuted perpetrators of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. 

At the trial and appellate levels in U.S. courts, she has litigated cases under the Alien Tort Statute on behalf of victims of international human rights violations and under federal and state law on behalf of victims of employment discrimination and labor law violations.  Ms. Partow has also defended businesses in general litigation and copyright infringement cases. 

For nearly a decade, Ms. Partow has litigated civil rights police excessive force cases in state and federal court, many of which have resulted in seven-figure jury verdicts and settlements.  Ms. Partow’s appellate work in this area has also led to multiple published opinions, including:    

  • Beets v. County of Los Angeles, 200 Cal.App.4th 916 (2011) (briefed and argued);
  • Gonzalez v. City of Anaheim, 747 F.3d 789 (9th Cir. 2014) (briefed and argued (panel));
  • Estate of Diaz v. City of Anaheim, 840 F.3d 592 (9th Cir. 2016) (briefed);
  • F.E.V. v. City of Anaheim, 15 Cal.App.5th 462 (2017) (briefed and argued).

In addition to her work in private practice, Ms. Partow has taught law as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law, and at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.

Ms. Partow graduated from Southwestern Law School in 2004.  In 2010, she earned an advanced degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford, UK, meriting the honor of Distinction in International Criminal Law.

In 2015 and 2016, Ms. Partow was recognized by Super Lawyers as a Southern California Rising Star, listing her among the top 2.5% of Southern California lawyers under 40. 

Ms. Partow is admitted to practice before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States District Courts for the Central and Eastern Districts of California, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (pro hac vice), the Supreme Court of California, and she is a qualified member of the Military Commissions Defense Organization Civilian Attorney Pool for the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.

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