Melissa Malone developed a deep empathy for others navigating the complicated and challenging immigration process when she and her family emigrated from South Africa to the U.S. in 2001 and began the journey to citizenship.

Melissa’s personal experience led her to begin focusing on immigration law as an undergraduate student at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. While there, Melissa worked with a variety of immigrant communities, which included teaching a citizenship course that prepared permanent residents for naturalization.

Melissa went on to graduate from the Wake Forest University School of Law where she served as the co-coordinator of the Immigration Pro Bono Project and helped organize groups of law students to assist with naturalization screenings and client interview preparation through Church World Service in Greensboro and the Southeast Asian Coalition in Charlotte and Raleigh.

During her time at Wake Forest, Melissa was on the Board of the Journal of Law and Policy and was elected president of the Immigration Law Society. She was also a member of the Appellate Advocacy Clinic, and she argued a case before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

At Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm, Melissa combines her compassion for immigrants with her commitment to assisting clients navigate the ever-changing legal landscape, primarily focusing on employment-based matters.

Melissa now maintains dual citizenship in the U.S. and South Africa. When she’s not working, she enjoys listening to podcasts, traveling with her partner, working out at the YMCA, binging documentaries, cooking new recipes and walking on the greenway with her dog.


  • Speaker, “Immigration Law Panel,” Wake Forest University School of Law, February 2021

Honors and Awards

  • Best Oralist of the Stanley Moot Court Competition, Wake Forest University School of Law, 2018
  • Chair, Trial Bar Competition, Wake Forest University School of Law, 2018
  • CLE Speaker, “Professionalism for New Attorneys,” Mecklenburg County Bar Association, June 2021
  • Dean Suzanne Reynolds Award, Wake Forest University School of Law, Poverty Law, 2019
  • Pro Bono Honor Society Member, Wake Forest University School of Law, 2018-20

Published Works

  • Implications of remote and hybrid work on immigration status: What to consider when developing office strategies, Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm White Paper, August 2021

Bar Admissions

  • North Carolina, 2020


  • Wake Forest University School of Law, Winston-Salem, North Carolina (J.D. - 2020)
  • Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina (B.A. magna cum laude - 2016)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • Mecklenburg County Bar
  • Mecklenburg County Bar Young Lawyers Division Council - Connectivity Chair, 2021
  • North Carolina State Bar

Areas of Practice