Claire A. Melehani
Claire is a skilled trial attorney, vigorously representing clients in contested litigation cases across Silicon Valley. For the last two years, Claire was named a Super Lawyer’s Rising Star, an award conferred upon the top 2.5% of rising attorneys in California.
Claire brings broad experience to her practice, benefitting her clients while complementing and enriching the Gates Eisenhart Dawson team. As a former investment banking analyst for a global investment bank, Claire’s strong finance background aids not just her legal analysis, but also her business-oriented advice for her clients. Claire's practice includes employment, business, and trust litigation. Many of her cases involve allegations of financial elder abuse.
During law school, Claire worked at the San Diego District Attorney’s Office in the Family Protection Division, prosecuting crimes of murder, domestic violence, stalking, crimes against children, and elder abuse. Claire has interned for judges, drafting bench memos and opinions for trials and appeals. Claire also interned at the Institute for Justice as a Law Clerk and Policy Fellow, where she learned to combine cutting-edge litigation, sophisticated media relations, and community organizing to fight for people denied their constitutional rights.
As a young trial attorney, Claire established herself as a formidable advocate, working for a prestigious local family law firm representing high net-worth individuals in contentious disputes. Claire routinely earned the trust and confidence of her clients, many of them Silicon Valley executives and entrepreneurs.
At Gates Eisenhart Dawson, Claire tackles complex and esoteric tasks with dedication and superlative attention to detail. As a valued member of our team, she offers her unique set of skills, talent, intellect, and passion to our clients' cases.
Outside of the office, Claire is heavily involved in the legal community on a local and national scale. She also maintains an active pro bono practice, mentors students in her community, and writes educational legal content about her work as a trial attorney.
- 2022 Super Lawyer’s Rising Star, Northern California (Civil Litigation - Plaintiffs' Side) - Rising Star awards are conferred upon the top 2.5% of rising attorneys in California. Honorees are selected via peer reviews and an independent research process that judges candidates based on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement.
- 2021 Super Lawyer’s Rising Star, Northern California (Civil Litigation - Plaintiffs' Side)
- 2021 Top Women Attorneys in Northern California (Rising Star in Civil Litigation) - Claire was included in the list of top women attorneys published in San Francisco Magazine's December 2021 issue.
- 2022 Top Women Attorneys in Northern California (Rising Star in Civil Litigation) - Claire was included in the list of top women attorneys published in San Francisco Magazine's December 2022 issue.
- United States District Court for the Northern District of California
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- Santa Clara County Bar Association
- San Mateo County Bar Association
- Monterey County Bar Association
- American Bar Association (ABA)
- California Lawyers Association (CLA)
- California Women Lawyers (CWL)
- American Inns of Court
- University of North Carolina School of Law (Chapel Hill), J.D. (2018)
- Duke University, Certificate in Nonprofit Management (2015)
- Duke University, B.S. in Economics (2014)
- Duke University, Certificate in Markets and Management (2014)
- "Law In The Age of Covid-19: Depose Your Own Witness To Preserve Their Testimony" - This article was reprinted in the Practicing Law Institute's 2021 coursebook for trial attorneys.
- "Seven Tips for Success When Joining an All-Male Law Firm" - Claire shared her tips for succeeding as a trial attorney with Her Legal Global - a blog dedicated to empowering women in law with actionable information.
- California Women Lawyers ("CWL") Board of Governors- Claire is a member of the Board of Governors as of 2023, helping guide the organization in its efforts to promote the advancement of women in the legal profession and advocate for women's interests more generally.
- Santa Clara County Bar Association ("SCCBA") Board of Trustees - As a Trustee, Claire helps govern the SCCBA, which is a tax-exempt 501(c)6 organization. Trustees are also charged with fiscal stewardship of the organization. Claire was elected for a two-year term beginning in 2023, and she previously served as the Barristers' delegate to the Board.
- Santa Clara County Bar Association ("SCCBA") Barristers Board of Directors Chairperson and Former President - Claire formerly served the Barristers as President (2022) and Vice President (2021), and she serves as Chir of the Barristers' Board of Directors as of 2023. The Barristers is a section of the county bar association dedicated to helping young attorneys give back to the community, form meaningful connections with bar association members, and excel in the profession.
- Santa Clara County Bar Association ("SCCBA") Women Lawyers Section Co-chair - Claire is on the Executive Committee of the Women Lawyers Section, which she co-chairs as of 2023. Claire helps oversee and implement events, advancing the Section's mission to support and advance women lawyers and judges and to address legal issues affecting women.
- Santa Clara County Bar Association ("SCCBA") Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee - Claire serves on the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee to support the efforts of diverse persons in entering the legal profession and thriving in their practices within Santa Clara County.
- American Inns of Court, Member of the Honorable William A. Ingram Inn - As a member of the Ingram Inn, Claire works to bolster the legal profession's ethics, civility, and dedication to excellence through monthly mentoring, educational programs, and networking. The Inn's members, including esteemed judges, meet for educational training and networking.
- 2021-2022 American Bar Association ("ABA") Young Lawyers' Division ("YLD") Affiliates Team Member - Claire worked to plan and execute leadership programming.
- 2021 American Bar Association ("ABA") Assembly Delegate - Claire was a Delegate to ABA Young Lawyers' Division (YLD) Assembly, where she voted on Resolutions drafted by ABA YLD members seeking to improve the profession. Resolutions that pass become ABA YLD policy and are sent to the ABA House of Delegates.
- Elevate Community Center Volunteer - As a volunteer attorney, Claire helps represent clients who cannot afford traditionally priced lawyers, but whose income makes them ineligible for legal aid centers' assistance. As a volunteer attorney, Claire helps supervises law student interns and externs, teaching them how to prepare cases for trial and try cases.
- Moderator, "Dobbs v. Whole Woman's Health Discussion Panel" - American Constitution Society chapters at Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa and NC Central Univ. Schools of Law, and Richardson Law's Black Law Students Association (October 2022)
- Moderator, "Unprecedented: Navigating Legal and Health Issues in a Post-Dobbs World" - Santa Clara County Bar Association (July 2022)
- Panelist, "Strategies for Developing a Legacy of Values and Finances" - Lockheed Martin's Business Resource Group, Black Excellence Council (B.E.C) (February 2022)
- Speaker, "Social Media for Lawyers: Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls" - Barristers Bootcamp (February 2022)
- Panelist, "Finding that First Job and Setting Yourself Up for Success" - The North Carolina Bar Association's YLD Law Student Outreach Committee, in partnership with the University of North Carolina School of Law (September 2021)