Foster Bird says still representing one of her first clients is a proud achievement

By John Breslin | Feb 11, 2019

Editor's note: This is part of an ongoing series of profiles of West Virginia attorneys.

HUNTINGTON – Melissa Foster Bird does not hesitate when asked about one of her the most satisfying parts of her career.

She's very happy to boast that one of her first clients from when began working as a lawyer 24 years ago remains a client.

A partner with the Huntington office of Nelson Mullins, Foster Bird had planned to be an elementary school teacher. In fact, that is what she studied for at college.

Melissa Foster Bird  

"I soon realized elementary school teaching was not for me," she said.

So, the Miami (Ohio) University student switched to law, eventually graduating from Ohio State University's law school.

Since then, she has served as lead counsel in more than 35 trials in state and federal courts, representing clients in the pharmaceutical industry, car manufacturers, medical device makers and doctors.

"I  have always done civil defense litigation working for corporations and companies, or for companies as plaintiffs or defendants," she said.

Her experience in the courtroom means she still gets opportunities to perform in front of a judge and jury, as most budding lawyers want to do.

"Law students now may never actually get in front of a judge and jury," Foster Bird told The West Virginia Record, adding that is a big change from when she went to law school. "I am disappointed for the young lawyers."

She tries to make sure her associates do have the opportunity to get inside a courtroom, she says.

On whether there is more litigation than she when she first started as an lawyer, Foster Bird believes the number is close, but the type of case has changed, with many more class actions than single cases.

And the biggest challenge? 

"Time management," she said. "There are so many things coming at you, coming from the court, depending on the client, and from opposing counsel. Every day is different."

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