Melissa R. Kiniyalocts

Lead Deputy County Counsel

Melissa Kiniyalocts joined the Office of the County Counsel in 2001.  Her practice focuses on civil litigation representing the County and its employees in civil rights, employment, and tort cases.  Melissa has tried cases in state and federal courts, including employment discrimination, conservatorship, and dangerous condition cases.  Melissa has also handled appeals before the Sixth District Court of Appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the California Supreme Court.  Melissa advises the County Counsel/Sheriff’s Office investigator on investigations of significant incidents that occur throughout the County.  Melissa provides legal advice with regard to processing, investigating, and responding to all government claims served on the County.  Melissa also represents the Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, which provides forensic pathology services for the entire County, and the Santa Clara County Library District, including the 11-member Joint Powers Authority Board.

Melissa’s professional expertise includes:

  • Civil rights litigation
  • Employment litigation
  • Tort litigation
  • Government Claims Act and immunities
  • California Public Records Act
  • Ralph M. Brown Act
  • Uniform Anatomical Gift Act
  • Library laws, including First Amendment and privacy


  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, J.D., cum laude, 2001
    • Wisconsin Women’s Law Journal, 1999-2001
    • Moot Court Board, 2000
    • Public Interest Law Coordinator, 1999-2001
    • Volunteer Lawyers Recognition Award: Outstanding Public Interest Law Student, Wisconsin State Bar, 2001
  • Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), B.A., cum laude, 1995

Professional Associations

  • Santa Clara County Bar Association (2001-present)
  • Finance Committee (2008-2012)
  • Judiciary Committee (2009-present)
  • Northern District Practice Program, Board Member (2009-present)

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