Whitman alumna Maria Melendez ‘89 to be honored by Women’s City Club of New York


MelendezWhitman alumna Maria Melendez, a litigation partner for Sidley Austin LLP’s New York office, will be honored by the Women’s City Club of New York (WCC) at its annual Civic Spirit awards gala on April 30 at the Yale Club in New York City. The Civic Spirit Award recognizes individuals whose life achievements include a passion for the public good and who personify “civic spirit.”

“It is humbling and a great thrill to be receiving a 2013 Civic Spirit Award,” says Melendez. “WCC has been a beacon of hope for so many New Yorkers throughout its almost 100-year history and led the charge in accomplishing meaningful change for the betterment of all. In accepting this award, I’m truly awestruck by the realization that I will become of small part of WCC’s rich history.” 

A 1989 graduate with a BS in marketing from the Whitman School, Melendez earned her JD from the Albany Law School of Union University in 1992. She worked as an associate for Breed, Abbott & Morgan before joining Brown & Wood LLP, which merged with Sidley Austin in 2001. Melendez became partner of the New York office in 2002. She maintains an active pro bono practice, and is a member of the Board of Directors of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. Melendez has also served on the Board of Directors of inMotion, Inc., a public service organization that provides free legal services to low-income women in New York City.

In 2011, Melendez was appointed member of the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division First Judicial Department. She has also served on the New York State Bar Association Task Force on New York Law in International Matters, and was the recipient of the Albany Law School Kate Stoneman Award for outstanding contributions to ensuring equity and fairness in the legal profession for women.

Founded in 1915 by Eleanor Roosevelt and others, the WCC of New York is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, multi-issue advocacy and membership organization that strives to improve the lives of New Yorkers by advocating for policies of fairness, equity and inclusion.