PRACTICE AREAS

Personal Injury
Medical Malpractice

EDUCATION

George Mason University School of Law (J.D. 2003)
University of Richmond (B.A. 1999)

Melissa Ray

PARTNER

“A child suffering from a birth injury never just gets to be a kid – throughout their life they have to work to find ways to compensate for their injury. I want to give those children a voice.”

Since joining Nichols Zauzig in 2004, Partner Melissa G. Ray has tirelessly given a voice to injured families, adults, and children. She has represented patients not only all over Virginia, but also in Washington. DC, North Carolina, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Melissa’s record of success has won her respect and gratitude from both clients and the legal community; Virginia Lawyers Weekly named her a 2024 Go-To Medical Malpractice Lawyer and honored her as part of the Class of 2023 Leaders in the Law. She was also selected by Virginia Lawyers Weekly as one of only 30 on the 2021 Influential Women in Law list. This award honors women attorneys and judges for their excellent work on behalf of the justice system and for their clients, their commitment to their communities and their service to the profession. Washingtonian Magazine named Melissa a 2020 Best Lawyer for Medical Malpractice/Personal Injury-Plaintiff, as has Best Lawyers® since 2022. Melissa is also a Virginia Super Lawyer®.

While Melissa takes great pride in representing each client, she finds it particularly rewarding to work on behalf of children suffering from birth injuries. “I want to give a voice to those children who otherwise wouldn’t be heard. A child suffering from a birth injury never just gets to be a kid – throughout their life they have to work to find ways to compensate for their injury.”

Extending her commitment to children far beyond her legal work, Melissa volunteers every year for National Young Readers Week, an annual event that brings local business leaders into area classrooms to read favorite books to students. Melissa also volunteers at The Reading Connection in Arlington, Virginia, where she reads books to children at a shelter for homeless families and victims of domestic violence.

Together with her partner, Melissa has been recognized in Virginia Lawyers Weekly consistently for million-dollar settlements as well as for some of the largest verdicts in Virginia in medical malpractice.

As a leader in the community, Melissa is actively involved with the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (VTLA) and is on the Executive Committee. She has been on the Board of Governors as a Governor at Large for several years. She is invited regularly to chair speak on topics at VTLA conferences and workshops. She recently chaired a two-day CLE retreat and in 2018, she chaired the Annual Convention Planning Committee. She previously chaired the Women’s Caucus and Litigation Support Committee, among other leadership roles.

In 2017, Melissa was invited to join the Boyds-Graves Conference, as part of a select group of attorneys, judges and law professors who consider proposed changes in statutes and rules governing Virginia’s system of civil justice. She now serves on the Steering Committee. A few years earlier, she joined the Etheridge Society, a invitation-only group of trial attorneys specializing in handling medical malpractice claims for plaintiffs.

Melissa is also a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and a member of the Prince William County Bar Association.

Melissa received her J.D. in 2003 from George Mason University School of Law. She was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 2003 and the District of Columbia bar in 2004. Melissa is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia and Western District of Virginia; and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

  • Vice President, Executive Council, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, 2021-23
    • Parliamentarian, Executive Council, 2019-20
    • Member at Large, ​​Board of Governors, 2013-2018
    • Chair, Annual Convention Planning Committee​, 2017-18
    • Chair, Women’s Caucus, 2015-16
    • Chair, Litigation Support Committee, 2013-15
  • Member by invitation, Boyd-Graves Conference, since 2017​
  • Steering Committee Member, Boyd-Graves Conference
  • Member by invitation, The Etheridge Society, since 2014
  • American Association for Justice
  • Prince William County Bar Association

Community/Charitable

  • Volunteer Presiding Judge, D.C. Regional Student Trial Advocacy Competition, sponsored by the American Association for Justice, annually since 2012
  • Volunteer Guest Reader, National Young Readers Week, Prince William County, VA, annually since 2010
  • Volunteer, The Reading Connection, Arlington, VA
  • Go-To Medical Malpractice Lawyer, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 2024
  • Leaders in the Law, Class of 2023, Virginia Lawyers Weekly
  • Best Lawyers®, Medical Malpractice Law-Plaintiffs, Washington D.C. region, since 2022
  • Influential Women in Law, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, Class of 2021
  • Top Lawyer, Medical Malpractice/Personal Injury – Plaintiff, Washingtonian Magazine, 2020
  • Women in Law Award, Medical Malpractice/Negligence, Lawyer Monthly, 2018
  • Super Lawyer®, Virginia, 2021, 2020, 2013, 2014
  • Rising Star, Virginia Super Lawyers, 2008, 2011, 2012
  • Virginia’s Largest Verdicts of the Year, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 2018 and annually from 2015 – 2016 and 2008 – 2010
  • Million Dollar Settlements of the Year, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, annually from 2012 – 2016 and 2008 – 2010

“I appreciate all the kindness and caring you showed for me. I was in awe watching you and Chuck in action. I would never want to be opposite you guys.”- Former client

“Chuck and Melissa: For the last two and a half years, you and your team have taken the time to listen to us, guide us and helped provide clarity when things made little sense. Our questions were always met with the highest level of professionalism and honesty and you continually kept me informed of any changes with your undivided attention. Thank you for being sensitive to my needs, working alongside my uncle, and for taking the time to understand our family’s cultural variations. I could not have asked for better legal counsel. With gratitude,”  – Former client

“Thank you for all you did to help us reach a successful settlement. Sincere thanks for a job well done.” – Former client

“Ms. Ray, Thank you helping me. Your friend,” –  6-year-old client

Selected Presentations:

“2021 Non-Economic Damages Two-Day Retreat,” Retreat Chair, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association CLE, The Alexandrian, Alexandria, VA, 2021

Be Wise. Be Well. Be Your Best. How Leaders in the Field Integrate Wellness with Excellence,” CLE Panelist, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention, The Homestead Resort, VA, 2019

Giving a Voice to Families After the Wrongful Death of Their Baby,” Wrongful Death Retreat, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Tides Inn, Irvington, VA, 2018

“2021 Non-Economic Damages Two-Day Retreat,” Retreat Chair, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, The Alexandrian, Alexandria VA, 2021

“Do Justly, Now,” Annual Convention Chair and Welcoming Remarks, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Williamsburg, VA, 2018

“Evidence for the Trial Lawyer: Documents and Exhibits,” The Annual Advocacy Seminar, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Richmond and Fairfax, VA, 2010

“16th Annual Paralegal Seminar,” Seminar Co-Chair and Welcoming Remarks, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Richmond, VA, 2008

Melissa Ray

PARTNER

PRACTICE AREAS

Personal Injury
Medical Malpractice

EDUCATION

George Mason University School of Law (J.D. 2003)
University of Richmond (B.A. 1999)

Overview

Since joining Nichols Zauzig in 2004, Partner Melissa G. Ray has tirelessly given a voice to injured families, adults, and children. She has represented patients not only all over Virginia, but also in Washington. DC, North Carolina, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Melissa’s record of success has won her respect and gratitude from both clients and the legal community; Virginia Lawyers Weekly named her a 2024 Go-To Medical Malpractice Lawyer and honored her as part of the Class of 2023 Leaders in the Law. She was also selected by Virginia Lawyers Weekly as one of only 30 on the 2021 Influential Women in Law list. This award honors women attorneys and judges for their excellent work on behalf of the justice system and for their clients, their commitment to their communities and their service to the profession. Washingtonian Magazine named Melissa a 2020 Best Lawyer for Medical Malpractice/Personal Injury-Plaintiff, as has Best Lawyers® since 2022. Melissa is also a Virginia Super Lawyer®.

While Melissa takes great pride in representing each client, she finds it particularly rewarding to work on behalf of children suffering from birth injuries. “I want to give a voice to those children who otherwise wouldn’t be heard. A child suffering from a birth injury never just gets to be a kid – throughout their life they have to work to find ways to compensate for their injury.”

Extending her commitment to children far beyond her legal work, Melissa volunteers every year for National Young Readers Week, an annual event that brings local business leaders into area classrooms to read favorite books to students. Melissa also volunteers at The Reading Connection in Arlington, Virginia, where she reads books to children at a shelter for homeless families and victims of domestic violence.

Together with her partner, Melissa has been recognized in Virginia Lawyers Weekly consistently for million-dollar settlements as well as for some of the largest verdicts in Virginia in medical malpractice.

As a leader in the community, Melissa is actively involved with the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (VTLA) and is on the Executive Committee. She has been on the Board of Governors as a Governor at Large for several years. She is invited regularly to chair speak on topics at VTLA conferences and workshops. She recently chaired a two-day CLE retreat and in 2018, she chaired the Annual Convention Planning Committee. She previously chaired the Women’s Caucus and Litigation Support Committee, among other leadership roles.

In 2017, Melissa was invited to join the Boyds-Graves Conference, as part of a select group of attorneys, judges and law professors who consider proposed changes in statutes and rules governing Virginia’s system of civil justice. She now serves on the Steering Committee. A few years earlier, she joined the Etheridge Society, a invitation-only group of trial attorneys specializing in handling medical malpractice claims for plaintiffs.

Melissa is also a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and a member of the Prince William County Bar Association.

Melissa received her J.D. in 2003 from George Mason University School of Law. She was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 2003 and the District of Columbia bar in 2004. Melissa is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia and Western District of Virginia; and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

Leadership

  • ​​Vice President, Executive Council, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, 2021-23
    • Parliamentarian, Executive Council, 2019-20
    • Member at Large, ​​Board of Governors, 2013-2018
    • Chair, Annual Convention Planning Committee​, 2017-18
    • Chair, Women’s Caucus, 2015-16
    • Chair, Litigation Support Committee, 2013-15
  • Member by invitation, Boyd-Graves Conference, since 2017​
  • Steering Committee Member, Boyd-Graves Conference
  • Member by invitation, The Etheridge Society, since 2014
  • American Association for Justice
  • Prince William County Bar Association

Community/Charitable

  • Volunteer Presiding Judge, D.C. Regional Student Trial Advocacy Competition, sponsored by the American Association for Justice, annually since 2012
  • Volunteer Guest Reader, National Young Readers’ Week, Prince William County Schools, Prince William County, VA
  • Volunteer, The Reading Connection, Arlington, Virginia

Honors

  • Go-To Medical Malpractice Lawyer, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 2024
  • Leaders in the Law, Class of 2023, Virginia Lawyers Weekly
  • Best Lawyers, Medical Malpractice Law-Plaintiffs, Washington D.C. region, since 2022
  • Influential Women in Law, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, Class of 2021
  • Top Lawyer, Medical Malpractice/Personal Injury – Plaintiff, Washingtonian Magazine, 2020
  • Women in Law Award, Medical Malpractice/Negligence, Lawyer Monthly, 2018
  • Super Lawyer®, Virginia, 2021, 2020, 2013, 2014
  • Rising Star, Virginia Super Lawyers, 2008, 2011-2012
  • Virginia’s Largest Verdicts of the Year, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 2018 and annually from 2015 – 2016 and 2008 – 2010
  • Million Dollar Settlements of the Year, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, annually from 2012 – 2016 and 2008 – 2010

Speaking & Publications

Selected Presentations:

“2021 Non-Economic Damages Two-Day Retreat,” Retreat Chair, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, The Alexandrian, Alexandria VA, 2021

Be Wise. Be Well. Be Your Best. How Leaders in the Field Integrate Wellness with Excellence,” CLE Panelist, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention, The Homestead Resort, VA, 2019

Giving a Voice to Families After the Wrongful Death of Their Baby,” Wrongful Death Retreat, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Tides Inn, Irvington, VA, 2018

“Do Justly, Now,” Annual Convention Chair and Welcoming Remarks, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Williamsburg, VA, 2018

“Evidence for the Trial Lawyer: Documents and Exhibits,” The Annual Advocacy Seminar, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Richmond and Fairfax, VA, 2010

“16th Annual Paralegal Seminar,” Seminar Co-Chair and Welcoming Remarks, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Richmond, VA, 2008

Testimonials

“I appreciate all the kindness and caring you showed for me. I was in awe watching you and Chuck in action. I would never want to be opposite you guys.”- Former client

“Chuck and Melissa: For the last two and a half years, you and your team have taken the time to listen to us, guide us and helped provide clarity when things made little sense. Our questions were always met with the highest level of professionalism and honesty and you continually kept me informed of any changes with your undivided attention. Thank you for being sensitive to my needs, working alongside my uncle, and for taking the time to understand our family’s cultural variations. I could not have asked for better legal counsel. With gratitude,”  – Former client

“Thank you for all you did to help us reach a successful settlement. Sincere thanks for a job well done.” – Former client

“Ms. Ray, Thank you helping me. Your friend,” –  6-year-old client

“A child suffering from a birth injury never just gets to be a kid – throughout their life they have to work to find ways to compensate for their injury. I want to give those children a voice.”