HARRISBURG (May 6, 2019) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Young Lawyers Division (YLD) will honor Melissa N. Leininger, legal counsel for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, with its Michael K. Smith Excellence in Service Award during an awards luncheon on May 16 at the association’s Annual Meeting in Lancaster.
The award is named in memory of a young Philadelphia lawyer committed to providing legal services for low-income people and to offering law-related educational programs to students. It is presented to a Pennsylvania young lawyer who, through his or her exemplary personal and professional conduct, reminds lawyers of their professional and community responsibilities.
An active member of the PBA, Leininger is co-vice chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession (WIP) and a member of its Executive Council, co-vice chair of the Membership Development Committee and a member of the Bar Leadership Institute Task Force, Government Lawyers Committee, Membership Engagement Blue Ribbon Panel, the Quality of Life/Balance Committee and the Workers’ Compensation Section. She held many leadership roles in the Young Lawyers Division, including treasurer, division delegate, at-large zone governor and Pennsylvania Bar Foundation YLD Board Member. Leininger is also a member of the 2011-12 Bar Leadership Institute class and former assistant secretary to the WIP.
In her role at the state, Leininger defends the Uninsured Employer’s Guaranty Fund in workers’ compensation litigation and serves as counsel to the Self-Insurance Division. She previously handled workers’ compensation and Social Security disability matters at Calhoon & Associates and held legal internship positions for Senator Jay Costa and at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and a clerkship at Meyers, Desfor, Saltzgiver & Boyle.
Leininger is a member of the Dauphin County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the association’s CLE and Women in the Profession Committees. She also belongs to the James S. Bowman Inn of Court serving as the barrister group leader. Leininger is a former member of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice where she was the Middle District Future Leaders Section Board member and Future Leaders Committee and Workers’ Compensation second vice chair.
Leininger is a former president and member of the Business Networking Institute.
She was also a former board member, advisory board member and Harrisburg Committee chair for Dress for Success and a co-chair of the American Cancer Society Daffodil Days Committee.
Leininger received a B.A. from Shippensburg University and a J.D. from Widener University School of Law.
Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access of legal services; and serve the lawyer members of the state’s largest organized bar association.