Melissa B. Coffey



Melissa Coffey is Vice Chair of Foley & Lardner’s Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations Practice. Her practice focuses on conducting internal investigations, including to preempt or mitigate actions taken by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), and other enforcement agencies; successfully defending companies and senior executives in government enforcement actions and civil and criminal litigation; and delivering practical regulatory advice to help avoid enforcement actions in the first place.

Clients turn to Melissa for her keen judgment and her practical and efficient approach to problem-solving, including in connection with crisis management and bet-the-company matters. Melissa has represented countless companies and individuals in government investigations, litigation initiated by the federal government and whistleblowers (including in False Claims Act actions alleging health care or other fraud), and other complex civil litigation. She also conducts internal investigations on behalf of companies and board committees to investigate concerns including fraud and employee misconduct, and successfully advises clients in order to avoid enforcement actions or litigation. Melissa advises clients across a spectrum of industries, including financial services, accounting, retail, pharmaceutical, home health, and medical supplies, among others.

Melissa also has extensive experience with facilitating the efficient review of large volumes of electronic data, including through the use of artificial intelligence, in connection with internal and government investigations and litigation.

Prior to joining Foley, Melissa worked for WilmerHale LLP in Boston.  Following law school, Melissa served a judicial clerkship with the Honorable D. Brock Hornby of the U.S. District Court, District of Maine.

Representative Experience

Melissa’s representative experience includes:

  • Successful dismissal, affirmed on appeal, of civil RICO litigation seeking $200 million in damages
  • Closing or other favorable resolution of a variety of investigations and litigation involving fees broker-dealers charged to clients, including distribution and shareholder services fees
  • Closing of SEC insider trading investigation involving a broker-dealer
  • Favorable resolution of DOJ False Claims Act investigation and related litigation involving home health agency, part of a major healthcare services company
  • Representation of retailer in an internal and SEC investigation involving alleged accounting fraud relating to the accounting for markdowns
  • Representation of accounting firms in a variety of PCAOB enforcement investigations
  • Representation of securities lending executives in civil litigation and an SEC investigation of a major financial institution, which the SEC declined to pursue
  • Representation of current and former employees of pharmaceutical companies in federal grand jury investigations involving potential False Claims Act allegations


  • Selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© from 2019 to the present, including in the fields of Criminal Defense: White-Collar and Litigation – Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom and Energy).


Melissa received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University (A.B., cum laude, 2001) and her law degree from Boston College Law School (J.D., magna cum laude, 2004). She was a member of the Boston College Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Admissions and Professional Memberships

Melissa is Co-Chair of the Sponsor Committee for the Women’s White Collar Defense Association (, and is a member of the American Bar Association.

She is admitted to practice in Florida and Massachusetts, and before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Middle, Northern, and Southern Districts of Florida; the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida; the First Circuit Court of Appeals; the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals; and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.