Melissa A. Peña, a Member of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A., Chair of its Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Group, and Co-Chair of the Meritas’ Financial Services/CRABS Group, has been elected to the Meritas Board of Directors for a three-year term, serving 2018-2021.
Meritas is an established global alliance of more than 180 independent, full-service law firms in every state and in 90 foreign countries with a comprehensive means of monitoring and enhancing the quality of its member firms—a process that saves clients time in validating law firm credentials and experience. Firms become members by invitation only and maintain membership by meeting standards of a uniquely comprehensive Quality Assurance Program. Firms are regularly assessed and recertified for the breadth of their practice expertise and client satisfaction. Firm quality feedback is reflected in a Satisfaction Index score, which is available online.
Meritas is led by a 21-member Board of Directors that helps the organization continually enhance its services, strategy, and overall client experience. Board members are elected by the voting members at each annual meeting to reflect the size and geographic composition of the Meritas alliance. To qualify, the member must be an employee, officer, director, member, or partner of a Meritas firm and must be a licensed lawyer in good standing in his or her respective jurisdiction(s). The primary responsibility of the Meritas Board is to build an effective organization that supports the mission, values, and goals of the organization and the interest of its members, making decisions based on what is best for the organization rather than for individual members or regions.
Peña concentrates her practice in the areas of bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and mortgage foreclosures. Her practice covers all aspects of litigation and insolvency matters in both state and federal courts. She frequently represents secured lenders, creditors’ committees, debtors, trustees, landlords, and other creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings pending in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. Peña also has extensive experience litigating cases involving UCC matters, actions to enforce promissory notes and guarantees, inter-creditor agreements, lien priority disputes, equipment leases, fraudulent conveyance actions, preferences, and various creditor enforcement matters.
Peña regularly represents lenders in commercial mortgage foreclosure proceedings. She handles all aspects of the litigation, including defending against counterclaims, negotiating forbearance agreements when appropriate, and representing the lender in any subsequent bankruptcy proceeding by litigating stay relief motions and representing the lender’s interest in the plan confirmation process.
Peña earned her J.D., cum laude, from The American University Washington College of Law in 2003 and her B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science, from George Washington University in 2000. While in law school, Peña was the Recent Development Editor of the Administrative Law Review, a member of the Law and Government Society, and participated in the Washington College of Law Civil Practice Clinic. She was an intern for Searles Solicitors in London, England, during the summer of 2001.