MELVIN N.A. AVANZADO
Melvin N.A. Avanzado is an accomplished trial lawyer with over 25 years of experience. Mel's practice includes entertainment, sports, media and intellectual property litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal court litigation. Mel also has extensive experience in employment cases, real estate disputes and other complex business disputes and has represented clients as outside general counsel, handling issues ranging from employment matters and litigation to real estate and other business transactions.
Mel began his career at Latham & Watkins, where he practiced general civil and employment litigation. In 1993, Mel joined the firm then known as Christensen, White, Miller, Fink & Jacobs (and later known as Christensen, White, Miller, Fink, Glaser & Shapiro LLP). At that firm, Mel’s practice migrated towards entertainment, media and intellectual property disputes. In 1996, Mel co-founded the entertainment litigation boutique firm, White O’Connor Curry & Avanzado LLP, where his practice focused primarily on entertainment, media, labor and intellectual property disputes. In 2005, Mel became a partner in the Entertainment Practice Group of the law firm, Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP, where he remained until he opened his new firm, The Avanzado Law Firm, in July 2008.
Mel has represented clients in many industries in both litigation and non-litigation matters. Among Mel's most interesting engagements, Mel was arbitration counsel to the Los Angeles Dodgers and represented an executive of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club in disciplinary proceedings before the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. Mel also represented Shanna Moakler against claims of “religious discrimination” brought by Carrie Prejean against the Miss California and Miss Universe pageant officials (including President Donald J. Trump) arising from the controversy generated by her answer during the pageant denouncing gay marriage in favor of “opposite marriage.” Mel defended CBS and “reality television” producer, Mark Burnett, against claims made by participants in the series, Survivor. He also represented Isuzu Motors Limited in its libel claim against the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. Mel also represented the Academy Award winning producer of the motion picture Crash in litigation over a failed production partnership and the profits from, among other things, that Oscar winning motion picture.
Because of the nature of his practice, Mel has substantial experience in handling cases that are subject to intense media scrutiny. Thus, Mel is in a position to advise clients about media coverage of pending litigation, and in particular how to communicate with the media concerning litigation events. At the 2010 Convention of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), Mel spoke on the panel "From O.J. Simpson to Bernie Madoff: Handling High Profile Cases" which included the Hon. Lance Ito and the Hon. Denny Chin (the only sitting Asian American judge in the United States Court of Appeals), focusing on how lawyers and the bench interact with the media in high profile cases.
Mel is actively involved in various bar associations and activities as well as the Asian-American and Filipino-American community. Mel served as the President of the Asian/Pacific Bar of California, one of the oldest statewide Asian-American bar associations. Mel was a long time member of the Board of Governors of the Philippine American Bar Association (PABA) and was President and CEO of the PABA Foundation, the non-profit arm of PABA. Mel testified at the August 25, 2010 confirmation hearing of the then-nominee for Chief Justice of California, the Honorable Tani Cantil-Sakauye, before the Commission on Judicial Appointments. In 2008, Mel received the Advocate Leader of the Year from the Filipino American Service Group, Inc., a leading service organization of the Filipino-American community in Los Angeles.
Mel served as General Counsel of the UCLA Alumni Association from 2018 through 2020. Mel served on the Judicial Appointments Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association from 2011 through 2017, after being a long-time member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Diversity Committee. Mel served on the board of directors of the Asian Business Association until the end of 2017 and currently is a member of the executive committee of the Apl.de.Ap Foundation International. Mel was a member of the 2010 NAPABA national convention host committee and a Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference from 2004 through 2008. Mel is recognized as a Super Lawyer in Entertainment & Sports, Intellectual Property Litigation and Business Litigation.
Mel graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1988. Mel received his bachelor of science degree in microbiology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1984. Mel is admitted to practice in all courts of the State of California, the United States Supreme Court and the United States District Court for the Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of California and the District of Colorado. Mel is "AV" rated by his peers.