Melanie Walker assists clients throughout the world with their business-based temporary and permanent immigration status needs, dedicating a large portion of her practice to the EB-5 immigrant investor category. As part of the Firm's Global Immigration Group, Ms. Walker has a wide range of experience coordinating with other professionals in the disciplines of securities law, real estate, tax, health care, and corporate finance, to develop immigration-compliant offering documents and has represented investors, developers and regional centers with their I-924 and related filings. She has represented clients in successfully obtaining regional center and project approvals, and overcoming complex USCIS requests for evidence challenging both project-related and individual source of funds aspects of filings originated by others. She works closely with client representatives domestically and overseas to prepare clear and comprehensive funding documentation and has a wide foundation of diverse I-526 and I-829 filing experience.
In addition to her EB-5 practice, Ms. Walker provides immigration counseling services to companies, including business immigration through investment and trade (E-1/E-2) and corresponding registration of companies as qualified with Embassies abroad, labor certifications/PERM (including Special Handling cases), nonimmigrant and permanent resident petitions for religious workers (R-1), Blanket L and individual international transferee programs (L-1), specialty occupations (H-1B, TN, E-3), naturalization applications, immigrant visa processing, and consular representations. Her work with individual clients includes not only employment-related filings, but numerous petitions for family-based immigration benefits through marriage or adoption, including experience obtaining permanent residency for qualified individuals under provisions of VAWA, and as victims of criminal activity through the U-visa classification. She has advocated on behalf of her clients to achieve resolution on unduly lengthy filings including interacting with governmental liaisons and in some cases, pursuing mandamus actions.
As a member of the Advocacy Department, Ms. Walker has represented clients in various types of litigation where she has aided in the defense of employment discrimination and ERISA claims, and assisted in responding to charges filed with the EEOC.
Prior to joining Baker Donelson, Ms. Walker was a law clerk to Chief Judge Curtis L. Collier in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. During her clerkship, she provided extensive research and drafting support on decisions resolving various federal and state employment claims under FMLA, FLSA, ERISA, Title VII, Title VI and THRA. Ms. Walker worked as an immigration paralegal before attending law school and cultivated considerable experience serving clients with their employment and family immigration issues during her years in this position.
- Author − "Immigration Corner," Baker Donelson's Labor and Employment Update: "More Questions for Travelers, and Carving Through the Definition of 'Specialized Knowledge' for Brazilian Chefs" (November 2014); "Time to Play the Lottery, New myE-Verify Website Provides Tools and an Education, Free Webinar on Form I-9 and new Blue Secure Ink" (October 2014); "Chinese EB-5 Applicants are Beginning to Form a Line, PERM Passwords, Changing Visa Fees" (September 2014); "Global Printing Problems for Immigrant Travel Visas, and More Road Signs on the Foggy PERM Highway" (August 2014); "Extraordinary Circumstances" Under the Child Status Protection Act, E-Verify Listens to You, and It's Time to Apply for Your H-1B Visa" (July 2014); "E-Verify Not an Impenetrable Shield, H-4 Spouses May Soon be Looking for Work, More Trips to the Doctor for Adjustment Applicants, and Canada is Closed" (June 2014); "Travel History with the Click of a Button; A Quick-Reference Guide for I-9; Hiring Decisions Impacting F-1 Students" (May 2014); "H-1B CAP Reached!" (April 2014); "Giving Hiring Preference to Laid-Off Employees and More New Customer Service Tools at USCIS" (March 2014); "Naturalization Hurdles and H-1B Cap Races," (February 2014); "'Friending' the Department of State on Facebook, BIA Shines a Light on the EAD Requirement for E and L Spouses, and an Unusual New Member of the California State Bar" (January 2014); "A Potentially Scary New Gift From E-Verify, Holiday Feasting Replaced By Fasting for Many This Season" (December 2013); "A Tech Giant's Hefty Immigration fine, an Improved Website for USCIS and a Developing Challenge for the Department of Labor" (November 2013); "Driver's Licenses in California and an Update on Immigration Reform" (October 2013); "The Increased Number of Permanent Residents, USCIC's Customer Identity Verification Program and New Electronic Visa Application Forms" (September 2013); "Online Resources for Same-Sex Spouse Immigration Benefits, F-2A and EB-2 Category Visas Opening and an FLSA Decision in Favor of Undocumented Workers" (August 2013)
- Contributing Author − "Immigration Practice" (Juris Publishing Fifteenth edition)
- Panelist − "International Forum: Options for Students After Graduation," Lee University, Diversity Council (April 2012)
- Member – American Bar Association
- Member – Georgia Bar Association
- Member – Tennessee Bar Association
- Member – American Immigration Lawyers Association
- Tennessee, 2011
- Georgia, 2009
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
- University of Georgia School of Law, J.D., 2009, magna cum laude
- Roosevelt University, B.F.A. in Acting, 1994