Melissa Cleary’s practice focuses exclusively on workers’ compensation. She is a Board Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law and the first female defense attorney in North Carolina to be inducted into the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers. In addition to her many appearances before the North Carolina Industrial Commission, Melissa has handled cases before the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court and the EEOC.

One of the benefits of handling cases since the mid-1990s is that Melissa has learned that there are many ways to look at an issue. Each client’s needs are different.  Melissa tailors her approach to meet the specific concerns of her clients and would never fall back on a one-size-fits-all approach. Melissa’s favorite aspect of her work is the opportunity it provides her to support her clients as they deal with the workers’ compensation system. In addition, she loves learning about different businesses, jobs and industries and the passion her clients have about their work.

Outside of the office, Melissa enjoys working with animal rescue groups, playing tennis and listening to podcasts, especially “We Can Do Hard Things.”

Practice Areas

  • Workers' Compensation


  • University of North Carolina (JD)
  • Saint Mary's College (BA, magna cum laude)

Professional Memberships

  • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
  • North Carolina State Bar
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • Wake County Bar Association
  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance
  • National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network (Vice President, March – September 2015; Treasurer, 2011-2015; Chair of NWCDN Workers’ Compensation Symposium, 2011)
  • College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers (Fellow, Class of 2015)

Bar Admissions

  • 1995 North Carolina
  • 2015 Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Western, Middle and Eastern District of North Carolina


  • North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law

Community Involvement

  • Work with support animal rescue groups