Melissa is Head of Cyber Insurance and a litigation and dispute resolution lawyer, specialising in insurance law with a focus on cyber.
She has extensive experience advising both local and international insurers on a wide range of coverage and liability issues in both litigated and non-litigated matters.
Melissa regularly provides cyber incident response management services and advises on privacy and other issues arising out of cyber incidents.
Melissa also advises on complex coverage issues, cyber recoveries and regulatory investigations, as well as acting in disputes arising from cyber incidents.
Melissa regularly publishes thought leadership articles on cyber security. She is a proficient public speaker and regularly provides in-house training for clients in cyber security, including clients within the financial services, government and health sectors. She also speaks at industry events on cyber security, including at the AISA Australian Cyber Conference 2022.
Melissa's strong technical legal skills and ability to simplify complex legal and insurance issues are well recognised by clients. She is commercial and has a strong track record of efficiently and cost effectively resolving disputes.
Melissa also has extensive experience in coverage disputes as well as defending claims against directors and officers, lawyers, brokers, engineers, architects, accountants, and financial planners.
Additionally, Melissa has experience in class actions both as defence counsel and coverage counsel.
Melissa's litigation expertise was recognised by Lawyerly when she was named one of the publication's Litigation Rising Stars of 2021. She was also named in the Insurance Business Australia Young Guns 2019. In 2014, Melissa was recognised as an up-and-coming litigation and dispute resolution lawyer by Australasian Lawyer in its list of 50 rising stars in the Australian legal industry.
Melissa's experience in cyber includes:
- acting as breach counsel in relation to a software exploitation attack and ransom demanded against a Software-as-a-Service platform provider
- advising on social engineering fraud and business email compromise incidents
- acting as breach response counsel for various SMEs in relation to crypto locker attacks or business email compromise attacks
- providing cyber reinsurance coverage advice to a state government insurer involving healthcare services
- advising a multinational company in relation to a data breach incident and undertaking contract review work in relation to the cyber incident so as to advise on recovery prospects
- acting as privacy counsel in relation to a data breach incident involving a Victorian healthcare service provider
- acting as breach response and privacy counsel for a workforce management company in relation to a Netwalker attack
- providing coverage advice to a cyber insurer in relation to a cyber attack on a conveyancing practice
- defending an international communications company in proceedings commenced by a multinational information technology company in relation to internet capacity services and DDoS attack
Melissa's experience in financial lines and professional indemnity includes:
- acting for POSI insurers in the Dick Smith class actions
- successfully defending insurers in a special leave application to the High Court of Australia in relation to complex coverage issues of non-disclosure, and the conduct exclusion and advancement of defence costs
- successfully defending professional indemnity insurers in the Supreme Court of New South Wales involving notification issues and the application of section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth)
- successfully defending professional indemnity insurers in the Supreme Court of New South Wales involving issues around fraudulent non-disclosure and section 40(3) of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth)