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Norris McLaughlin Elects Melissa Peña to Management Committee

Posted on June 17th, 2020

Melissa A.  Peña, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., has been elected to the firm’s Management Committee. She succeeds Robert C. Gabrielski who has served on the committee for the past eight years and has stepped down to allow the next generation of leaders to play a more active role in managing the firm.

About the Norris McLaughlin Management Committee

Peña will join John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm, and the other esteemed Management Committee members, including David S. Blatteis, Dolores A. Laputka, Bruce S. Londa, Robert Mahoney, and David C. Roberts, to collaborate and oversee the day-to-day operations of the firm with the goal of preserving the firm’s values, mission, and culture, as well as implement strategic growth plans for the firm’s future success.

“I am humbled by the trust my colleagues have placed in me by selecting me to join the management team, particularly during such an unprecedented time for the legal industry and our clients,” said Peña. “The committee has already successfully navigated the firm through the early stages of the pandemic, focusing on our clients’ evolving needs and the safety of our staff. I intend to contribute to our progress and focus on strategic planning to ensure the firm’s future growth.”

Chairman John Vanarthos added, “Melissa brings a wealth of business acumen and years of leadership experience. She has shown that she possesses a strategic vision and has a proven track record of success. Her focus on the firm’s clients, their needs, and the firm’s best interests, along with her many other contributions to the firm reflect her deep commitment and understanding of the firm’s core values. She will contribute a unique perspective to the Management Committee and we look forward to benefiting from it.”

About Melissa Peña 

Peña serves as the Chair of the Norris McLaughlin Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group, which is well suited to assist clients as the impact of the pandemic takes its toll on the economy.

Peña is also a member of the firm’s Women’s Forum and its Diversity Committee, and is committed to mentoring and developing female and minority attorneys through their careers. Peña joined Norris McLaughlin as a summer associate and, upon graduation from law school, returned as an associate and was then promoted to member. “Over the years,” Peña said, “I have been fortunate to be mentored by many attorneys at Norris, and I attribute my career path to the development efforts of this firm. It is important to me to continue to focus on women and diversity, and to support the firm’s values.” Active in the legal community, she is a member of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation, the Turnaround Management Association (New Jersey), and New York County Lawyers’ Association.

Peña serves on the Board of Directors of Meritas, an established global alliance of more than 180 independent, full-service law firms in every U.S. state and in 90 foreign countries. She is also a member of the Meritas Quality Assurance Committee and the Chair of the Meritas Financial Services Group.

Peña concentrates her practice in the areas of bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and mortgage foreclosures. Her practice covers all aspects of litigation and insolvency matters in both state and federal courts. She frequently represents secured lenders, creditors’ committees, debtors, trustees, landlords, and other creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings pending in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. Peña also has extensive experience litigating cases involving UCC matters, actions to enforce promissory notes and guarantees, inter-creditor agreements, lien priority disputes, equipment leases, fraudulent conveyance actions, preferences, and various creditor enforcement matters.

Peña earned her J.D., cum laude, from The American University Washington College of Law in 2003 and her B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science, from George Washington University in 2000.