Melanie S. Cliff (Joo)

Partner, Chair of the Regulatory and Licensing Practice

Contact information

Phone: (213) 239-5622
Fax: (213) 239-5623

Melanie is a highly experienced legal and business advisor who focuses her practice primarily in two areas: automotive companies and dealers, and Korean companies entering the U.S. market. She is also a certified DCOP (Dealership Compliance Officer Professional). 

For well over a decade, Melanie has represented automotive industry clients on a variety of federal and state regulatory matters, class action and consumer litigation, and transactional matters. She frequently serves as outside general counsel for national automotive clients, leading all work on compliance, transactions, advertising, and government investigations and audits. Melanie also has extensive experience representing startup electric vehicle manufacturers, Internet-based automotive advertising companies and national automotive retailers.  She regularly advises start-up and late stage technology companies, including those with significant cross-border transactions. 

As an exclusive offering to automotive technology clients, Melanie has a team ready to provide multi-state mapping of applicable laws and regulations across the country. This unique state-by-state guidance has proved essential for business entities entering and expanding in the highly regulated automotive market, whether as a manufacturer, distributer, dealer, supplier, or Internet-based platform for the advertising, sale, financing or repair of vehicles. Melanie has overseen massive multi-state regulatory projects for major players in the automotive space on issues involving state-specific licensing, advertising, and regulatory frameworks. The resulting road map provides a clearer picture of the pitfalls and opportunities that lay ahead and allows for strategic and focused planning.

Melanie, who speaks Korean and has worked extensively with Korean-based clients, advises Korean companies on all aspects of doing business in the U.S., including market entry, corporate formation, cross border transactions, intellectual property, trade, taxation, immigration, licensing, advertising, and distribution. Melanie's background provides her with unique perspectives that help Korean companies seamlessly transition and compete in the U.S. market.

Melanie is on the Advisory Board for ADCO, the Chair of the Regulatory and Licensing Practice at Scali Rasmussen, and serves as co-chair for the firm’s Diversity Initiative. 


  • Juris Doctor, Tulane University Law School, 2003
  • BA, University of Southern California, 2000

Bar admissions: 

  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of Nevada

Professional memberships: 

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • National Association of Dealer Counsel, Member
  • California Minority Counsel Program
  • Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, CCEP certified
  • International Association of Korean Lawyers
  • Association of Dealership Compliance Officers