Melanie E. Bates, Esq. is the Principal of Melanie Bates Consulting, LLC, a Washington, DC-based consultancy specializing in local government relations, criminal justice reform, and communications. Melanie has a strong passion for criminal justice reform and believes it is incumbent upon our society to ensure that every person, regardless of socioeconomic status, has access to quality legal representation. It is her belief that poverty, lack of education, and other social issues should not feed the pipeline to prison.

Melanie is on the Advisory Board of Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop, an organization that uses books, creative writing, and peer support to awaken D.C. youth incarcerated as adults to develop their own potential. Melanie was the 2014-2015 President of the Greater Washington Area Chapter of the Women’s Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association (GWAC) and under her leadership, GWAC was awarded “Affiliate Chapter of the Year."

Melanie is a Legal Aid Hotline Attorney at the AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly. She previously served as the first-ever Director of Communications at the Future of Privacy Forum, Director of Policy & Communications at the American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia, Legislative Director for Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells at the Council for the District of Columbia, and Legislative Counsel for the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety at the Council for the District of Columbia, Paralegal Specialist at the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Legal Intern at Legal Aid of North Carolina, Legal Intern at Neighborhood Legal Services Program, and Advertising Coordinator at The Washington Post.

Melanie graduated from Hampton University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. She earned her Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia. Melanie is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States. She has been featured in several media outlets including WPGC 95.5 FM, FOX 5 DC, The Nation, AFRO-American Newspapers, Rolling Out,, Twin Cities Daily Planet, and Montgomery Community Media.