Melissa Burgess helps clients engaged in manufacturing and cross-border transactions maintain compliance with U.S. and foreign trade regulations, particularly those related to U.S. national security. Her experience includes advising clients on regulations governing permanent and temporary exports and imports (ITAR, EAR, ATF); sanctions; national security restrictions on entities, equipment, and services; review of foreign investments; and compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
In helping her clients mitigate risk and when conducting cross-border transactions, Melissa applies the experience she gained early in her career, which focused heavily on assisting clients with the production, import, and export of weapons systems, including firearms and ammunition. Her work has involved matters before the Bureau of Industry and Security, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the Department of Justice's FARA Unit, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control, among others.
Currently, Melissa works with an ever-expanding range of clients on a variety of projects and enjoys learning their new ideas, operations, and technologies. She is equally adept at assisting non-profits, start-ups, second-generation family businesses, and major corporations, and supports disparate endeavors ranging from exporting props to film productions, to the latest in additive manufacturing.
Defense manufacturing and international trade crossover issues
Assist importers and manufacturers of defense articles navigate the often-overlapping and conflicting controls of Department of Defense contract fulfillment requirements, domestic weapons manufacturing regulations, and import/export policies.
Helps create, sustain, and adapt compliance plans tailored to the size and scope of client operations, making sure clients have the tools they need to succeed.
Advises deal counsel and clients on CFIUS filings, export, and sanctions due diligence, in particular, addressing special issues in acquisitions, sales, and restructuring of businesses that manufacture defense articles and hold federal firearms and/or explosives licenses (FFLs/FELs).
Admitted to Practice
District of Columbia, 2016
J.D., George Mason University School of Law, 2015
- Senior Articles Editor, National Security Law Journal
- Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, Vienna, Austria, 2014
B.A., B.Mus., French, Violin Performance, Southern Methodist University, 2011, summa cum laude
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Pi Kappa Lambda
- Honor Roll with High Distinction
Memberships & Affiliations
- Volunteer, USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, 2013-2021
- Selected to a list of "Ones to Watch" in Communications Law (Washington, D.C.), Best Lawyers, 2023-2024
- Named to "Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll" by the D.C. Court of Appeals and the D.C. Superior Court, 2022
- Associate, 2015-2021; Law Clerk, 2013-2015 – Mark Barnes & Associates, Washington, D.C.