Baker Donelson has elected 11 new shareholders across the firm, including Melanie C. Walker of the firm's Chattanooga office.
This year's class of new shareholders is comprised of more than 50 percent women, making it the fourth consecutive year women have made up nearly or more than half of the firm's newly elected shareholders. Additionally, nearly half of the new shareholders, including men and women, have taken advantage of Baker Donelson's industry-leading parental leave policy during their time at the firm.
Ms. Walker is a member of the firm's Global Immigration Group, dedicating a large portion of her practice to business immigration, which includes counseling international and domestic employers on immigration compliance, strategies for hiring, transferring, and retaining foreign national employees. She assists foreign companies with establishing and expanding operations in the U.S., and also works with religious organizations to bring over ministers and other religious workers from abroad. Additionally, Ms. Walker regularly counsels individual clients with their various family-based immigration needs and assists individuals with documenting complex financial transactions to evidence their lawful source of funds used for investment in U.S. enterprises to obtain immigration benefits. She also has experience managing the development of successful EB-5 projects with other professionals in a variety of disciplines to develop immigration-compliant offering documents and final presentation of project materials for filing with USCIS.
A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, Ms. Walker is a member of the American, Georgia and Tennessee Bar Associations and of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. In 2017, she was recognized as a "Top Author" on the topic of Immigration in JD Supra's Readers' Choice Awards. Prior to joining Baker Donelson, Ms. Walker was a federal law clerk to the Honorable Curtis L. Collier in the Eastern District of Tennessee. Ms. Walker is an active member of the Chattanooga community, supporting pro bono immigration efforts by the International Refugee Assistance Project, AILA Military Assistance Program, and aiding victims of domestic abuse or other crimes to protect their immigration status. She regularly volunteers with the Ronald McDonald House, Siskin Children's Institute, and other local organizations dedicated to helping children.
"Melanie is a dynamic professional who is committed to the firm and to superior client service and I look forward to seeing her continued success as a shareholder," said Russell W. Gray, managing shareholder of Baker Donelson's Chattanooga office.