Melanie Morgan

PARTNER

Melanie targets her skills, energy, and experience on protecting individuals ensnared in the federal criminal justice system. Her clients come from a wide-range of backgrounds, educational levels, and experiences and with each client, Melanie partners to develop a holistic strategy for the litigation while simultaneously addressing the collateral consequences attendant to a criminal investigation, accusation or conviction.  

As diverse as her clients are the allegations they face. As a seasoned litigator, Melanie has defended clients facing a vast array of accusations including complex conspiracies, fraud, tax evasion, violations of regulatory schemes, serious drug offenses, violent crime and sex offenses as well as immigration violations. Whether the facts or the law surrounding the accusation are complex or simple, common or novel, Melanie meshes tenacious courtroom advocacy with compassionate counsel to help her clients navigate one of the most difficult periods of their lives. Though she prefers to keep her clients out of the limelight when possible, she received special recognition as the first recipient of the Kansas Bar Association’s Courageous Attorney Award, which resulted from her representation of Burundi-born, naturalized American gentleman accused by the federal government of participation in war crimes. After an exhaustive international investigation, aggressive motion practice, and a lengthy trial against Department of Justice’s prosecutors, Melanie won a complete dismissal of the charges against her client.

More recently, Melanie was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, a professional association recognized as the preeminent organization of trial lawyers in North America. Fellowship in the College is limited to trial lawyers who demonstrate the very highest standards for trial advocacy, ethical conduct, integrity, professionalism, and collegiality.

Though Melanie finds it hard to remember life before she was a criminal defense lawyer, prior to attending law school, Melanie worked in public relations for a regional hospital. She credits that experience with teaching her how to craft persuasive messages and connect with different stakeholders. She started her legal career at a boutique criminal defense firm, mentored by a nationally known trial lawyer, before opening her own law firm in 2002.  She partnered with Cheryl Pilate to form Morgan Pilate LLC in 2007. Melanie is the managing partner.

Beyond her advocacy with each client, Melanie is committed to the betterment of the federal criminal justice system. Currently she co-chairs the Defender Services Advisory Group, a national committee that provides policy, management, and budgetary guidance related to the administration of the federal indigent defense program with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. She also serves as the Criminal Justice Act panel representative for the District of Kansas.

When she’s not working, Melanie loves spending time with her husband and her three adult children. Her favorite escape is to Telluride, where they ski and hike.

Kansas State University

  • B.A., 1989

The University of Kansas School of Law

  • J.D., 1993
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Super Lawyers, 2005 to present
  • Courageous Attorney Award, Kansas Bar Association, 2012
  • Women’s Justice Award – Litigation Practitioner, Missouri Lawyers Weekly, 2016
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers, 2020

Melanie Morgan

MANAGING PARTNER

Melanie targets her skills, energy and experience on protecting individuals ensnared in the federal criminal justice system. Her clients come from a wide-range of backgrounds, educational levels and experiences and with each client, Melanie partners to develop a holistic strategy for the litigation while simultaneously addressing the collateral consequences attendant to a criminal investigation, accusation or conviction.  

As diverse as her clients are the allegations they face. As a seasoned litigator, Melanie has defended clients facing a vast array of accusations including complex conspiracies, fraud, tax evasion, violations of regulatory schemes, serious drug offenses, violent crime and sex offenses as well as immigration violations. Whether the facts or the law surrounding the accusation are complex or simple, common or novel, Melanie meshes tenacious courtroom advocacy with compassionate counsel to help her clients navigate one of the most difficult periods of their lives. Though she prefers to keep her clients out of the limelight when possible, she received special recognition as the first recipient of the Kansas Bar Association’s Courageous Attorney Award, which resulted from her representation of Burundi-born, naturalized American gentleman accused by the federal government of participation in war crimes. After an exhaustive international investigation, aggressive motion practice and a lengthy trial against Department of Justice’s prosecutors, Melanie won a complete dismissal of the charges against her client.

More recently, Melanie was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, a professional association recognized as the preeminent organization of trial lawyers in North America. Fellowship in the College is limited to trial lawyers who demonstrate the very highest standards for trial advocacy, ethical conduct, integrity, professionalism and collegiality.

Though Melanie finds it hard to remember life before she was a criminal defense lawyer, prior to attending law school, Melanie worked in public relations for a regional hospital. She credits that experience with teaching her how to craft persuasive messages and connect with different stakeholders. She started her legal career at a boutique criminal defense firm, mentored by a nationally known trial lawyer, before opening her own law firm in 2002.  She partnered with Cheryl Pilate to form Morgan Pilate LLC in 2007. Melanie is the managing partner.

Beyond her advocacy with each client, Melanie is committed to the betterment of the federal criminal justice system. Currently she co-chairs the Defender Services Advisory Group, a national committee that provides policy, management and budgetary guidance related to the administration of the federal indigent defense program with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. She also serves as the Criminal Justice Act panel representative for the District of Kansas.

When she’s not working, Melanie loves spending time with her husband and her three adult children. Her favorite escape is to Telluride, where they ski and hike.

Kansas State University

  • B.A., 1989

The University of Kansas School of Law

  • J.D., 1993
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Super Lawyers, 2005 to present
  • Courageous Attorney Award, Kansas Bar Association, 2012
  • Women’s Justice Award – Litigation Practitioner, Missouri Lawyers Weekly, 2016
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers, 2020