Mother, Mentor, and Maven

Firm owner Melissa F. Cornell grew up in a single-parent household with a strong working mother as a role model. Melissa watched her mother work tirelessly to provide for her three children after her father, a small-town police officer, suddenly passed away. Inspired by the hard work and tough love of her mother, Melissa decided to finish college and pursue her dream of becoming an attorney. Although life briefly intervened, giving her two young children with her high school sweetheart, she put herself through college and applied to law school. After being accepted by the University of Tulsa College of Law, she moved from her hometown in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado all the way to the green hills of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Law School Graduation
Melissa before law school graduation with both of her children.

After graduating law school in 2004, Melissa worked with several esteemed and talented family lawyers before opening CORNELL LAW FIRM in 2015. She is proud to employ both of her children, making her firm one of the only family-run family law firms in Oklahoma. Her eldest is associate attorney Courtney Najera, and her youngest is the firm’s legal assistant.

Melissa’s Education

Melissa graduated from the University of Tulsa College of Law in 2004 where she received her Juris Doctor with honor. While in law school, Melissa was an editor of the Tulsa Law Review, vice-president of the Board of Advocates and a member of Phi Delta Phi. She received the distinguished Order of the Barristers award for her outstanding performance in moot court competitions.

Melissa’s Bar Admissions

Melissa has been licensed to practice law in Oklahoma since 2004.

Melissa’s Memberships

Melissa is a member of the Family Law Sections of the Tulsa County Bar Association, the Oklahoma Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. She is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), one of the premier organizations focused on the practice of family law and new developments in the field.

Melissa’s Volunteer and Pro Bono Work

Melissa enjoys dedicating her time to both the legal community and the community at large.  Since graduating, she has volunteered for the Tulsa County Bar Association’s Children in the Law Committee, the Mentor Committee, the Professional Responsibility Committee, the Young Family Lawyers Committee, and Tulsa Lawyers for Children.  In addition, she has served as Tulsa County Bar Association Family Law Section Chair, the Young Family Lawyers Committee Chair, and Tulsa County Bar Association Delegate to the Oklahoma Bar Association.

Melissa also speaks and presents on divorce and family law topics at both local continuing legal education seminars and national continuing legal education seminars and has been published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal.

Melissa’s Publications

Termination of Joint Custody: Is the Law in Oklahoma Disjointed?, 78 OKLA. BAR. J. 411 (2007).

Melissa’s Published Cases

Johnson v. Wingert, 2011 OK CIV APP 128, 268 P.3d 145

Radford v. Radford, 2016 OK CIV APP 24, 371 P.3d 1158

Melissa’s Honors and Awards

  • Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (2011-Present)
  • Directory of Distinguished Attorneys (2010-Present)
  • AV Preeminent Rating (2009-Present)
  • Oklahoma Rising Star (2009-Present)
  • Tulsa’s Top Lawyers as published by Tulsa People Magazine (May 2011-Present)
  • Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers (2011-Present)