Melanie C. Walker

Associate
1900 Republic Centre
633 Chestnut Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37450
T: 423.209.4201
F: 423.752.9560

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 strategic guidance and immigration counseling services to companies. These services include business immigration through investment and trade (E-1/E-2) and corresponding registration of companies with Consulates and Embassies abroad; labor certifications/PERM (including Special Handling and Supervised Recruitment cases); nonimmigrant and permanent resident petitions for religious workers (R-1/I-360); Blanket L and individual international transferee programs (L-1), including new office L-1 petitions; specialty occupations (H-1B, TN, E-3); extraordinary/exceptional workers (O-1, EB-1 and EB-2) and multinational manager petitions (EB-1); naturalization applications; immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processing; and other consular representations. She has also assisted companies with developing training programs to enable temporary employment for J-1 interns and researchers or for STEM graduates seeking extensions for work authorization under revised regulations governing STEM OPT status.

Ms. Walker's 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. 

Publications & Speaking Engagements

Ms. Walker has been the monthly editor of Immigration Update, a part of Baker Donelson's Labor & Employment Newsletter, since 2013. Recent articles include:

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Recognized as the 2015 Firm Associate of the Year
  • Member – American Bar Association
  • Member – Georgia Bar Association
  • Member – Tennessee Bar Association
  • Member – American Immigration Lawyers Association

Admissions

  • Tennessee, 2011
  • Georgia, 2009
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia 

Education

  • University of Georgia School of Law, J.D., 2009, magna cum laude
    • Order of the Coif
  • Roosevelt University, B.F.A. in Acting, 1994