Melanie J. Vartabedian

Tel 424.204.4329
Fax 424.204.4350
Los Angeles
Tel 801.517.6842
Fax 801.531.3001
Salt Lake City

Melanie J. Vartabedian handles complex commercial litigation matters, focusing on consumer financial services litigation, receivership matters and securities litigation, real estate disputes, and diversity and inclusion counseling.

Melanie has litigated cases in state and federal courts across the country, and also has experience representing clients in arbitrations and government investigations. She is an experienced consumer finance litigator and defends individual and class action lawsuits brought by consumers in the areas of federal and state consumer protection laws and mortgage banking. Her practice includes defending financial institutions against civil claims alleging failure to adhere to AML and BSA regulations, policies, and procedures. She also represents real estate developers and private and public companies in business disputes relating to land use decisions. In addition, she has represented accounting firms and auditors in Securities and Exchange Commission investigations.

Melanie has extensive experience and involvement in government-appointed receiverships. Most recently, she represented the receiver in Securities and Exchange Commission v. American Pension Services et al., Case 2:14-cv-00309-RJS-DBP (D. Utah), a receivership involving over $350 million in assets and 5,500 defrauded investors across the country. She has prosecuted fraudulent transfer actions on behalf of the receiver in SEC receiverships, and has defended clients sued by various receivers in regards to fraud-related tort claims.

Melanie is passionate about Diversity & Inclusion issues. She served as co-leader for Ballard Women—Ballard Spahr’s national women’s group-- for seven years, where she developed programming for the firm’s women lawyers across the country. She is a member of Ballard Spahr’s internal Diversity and Inclusion Council, where she works closely with the firm’s Chief Diversity Officer to implement firm-wide diversity initiatives. Her Diversity and Inclusion work includes advising corporate clients with respect to their internal and external diversity and inclusion policies and practices.

Pro Bono Experience

Melanie has been recognized by the Utah State Bar and Utah Legal Services for her pro bono work, which includes:

  • Assisting immigrants who are the victims of certain serious crimes and have cooperated with authorities in the prosecution of the perpetrator, to obtain legal status in order to reside and work in the United States
  • Representing Guatemalan human trafficking victims
  • Acting as lead attorney and negotiating a favorable settlement for a disabled couple who lost their home to a predatory real estate company
  • Serving as a Violence Against Women Act volunteer and helping victims of domestic violence obtain naturalization

Judicial Clerkships

Hon. Judith Billings, Presiding Judge, Utah Court of Appeals

Professional Activities

American Bar Association

Federal Bar Association

Salt Lake County Bar Association

Utah Minority Bar Association

National Association of Federal Equity Receivers, Full Member

Litigation Section of Utah State Bar, Public Service Commission

Salt Lake Chamber, Board of Governors

Appointed to serve on the Utah State Bar's Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee

Utah State Bar Commission, ex officio member

Aldon J. Anderson America Inn of Court

Women Lawyers of Utah, President (2010-2011); Women Lawyers of Utah, Chair of Committee for the Initiative on the Advancement and Retention of Women Attorneys, which oversaw a groundbreaking study on why legal employers are failing to advance and retain women attorneys (2007-2009); Women Lawyers of Utah, Board Member (2007-2012); Women Lawyers of Utah, Member (2004-Present)

Ballard Spahr's Diversity and Inclusion Council

Past Co-Chair, Ballard Women Business Resource Group

Recognition & Accomplishments

Selected by the Salt Lake Chamber as a 2019 Pathfinder at the Women & Business Conference

Selected by Utah Business Magazine for the "40 Under 40" list for 2017, as a Legal Elite from 2014-2020, and as an Up and Coming lawyer in the area of civil litigation for 2011-2013

Recognized by Salt Lake Chamber as a community difference-maker for its Women's History Month 2017 highlights

Selected as one of Super Lawyer's Mountain States Super Lawyers from 2013-2020 and as a Rising Star in 2012

Recipient of the Utah State Bar's Dorathy Merrill Brothers Award for the Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession


Contributed to Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and Women's Leadership Institute's "Best Practices Guide for Closing the Gender Wage Gap," December 2018

Co-author, "The Utah Report: The Initiative on the Advancement and Retention of Women in Law Firms," Women Lawyers of Utah, October 2010

"Goodwin v. Turner & Gerber v. Hickman: Should Prisoners Have the Right to Procreate?" Journal of Law and Family Studies, 5.2 Edition

Speaking Engagements

"Ethical Issues in Receiverships," Annual Securities Law Workshop, Utah State Bar, November 2019

"Discovery Issues in Employment Litigation: Tips to Save You Time and Money," Ballard Spahr's Fall Employment Law Seminar, November 7, 2018

"Utah Women and the Wage Gap," Salt Lake Chamber Women and Business Conference, November 15, 2017 

"Mind (Your) Pay Gap: What Employers Need to Know About Pay Equity," Ballard Spahr LLP's Fall Employment Law Seminar, November 1, 2017 

"Mentors, Champions, Diversity, and Advancement—You Can't Be Who you Can't See," Summer Convention, Utah State Bar, August 2017

"Interagency Cooperation Among Court-Appointed Receivers, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Department of Justice," Annual Securities Law Workshop, Utah State Bar, August 2017

"CFPB Enforcement Actions in the Credit Card Industry," Risk Management Association, October 2013

Presenter at in-house seminar for client titled "Ethics for In-House Counsel: Common Problems and How To Handle Them"

"The Final Report on the Initiative on the Advancement and Retention of Women," Utah State Bar 2010 Summer Convention, July 17, 2010

"The Initiative on the Advancement and Retention of Women: Survey Results and Suggestions," Utah State Bar 2009 Summer Convention

"Retaining Good Lawyers: Lifestyle and Generational Issues," Utah State Bar Fall Forum 2009

Community Activities

Salt Lake Symphony, member of cello section, 2006-present

Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR), Board of Directors, Salt Lake City Chapter

University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law (J.D. 2004)
Note and Comment Editor, Journal of Law and Family Studies; Member, National Moot Court; Legal Writing Teaching Assistant

University of the Pacific (B.M., summa cum laude, 2001)