Melinda Merk

McCandlish Lillard is pleased to announce that on March 1, 2019, Melinda Merk, JD, LLM, will join the firm’s Wills, Trusts & Estates practice as a Principal.  Melinda provides holistic multi-generational income and wealth transfer tax planning advice and estate and trust services to high net worth individuals, families, and business owners.

Melinda brings a unique and diverse perspective from her work in private law practice, Big Four accounting firms, and private banking/trust services.  As a seasoned tax and estates and trusts attorney, she enjoys working with a wide range of clients to successfully protect and preserve their wealth. She has represented business owners, real estate developers, private equity partners, physicians, young couples, retirees, and international/expat clients and their families.

Melinda started her career at a boutique trusts and estates firm in Montgomery County, Maryland. After completing her LL.M. in Taxation at the Georgetown University Law Center, Melinda joined a Big Four accounting firm’s National Tax Department in the Personal Financial Services group in Washington, DC, where she consulted with clients on a nationwide and global basis as a Subject Matter Specialist in the areas of income and wealth transfer tax planning.

Melinda then returned to the practice of law as a Senior Counsel in the Private Wealth Services group at a national law firm in its Northern Virginia office, with a primary focus on pre-sale planning for business owners, income and estate tax planning for international clients, and asset protection planning. She later joined another Big Four accounting firm as a Tax Director in the Personal Financial Services group.  Most recently, she was a Senior Vice President and Regional Trust Advisor at a large bank’s Private Wealth Management group for the Greater Washington Region.

Given her diverse background, Melinda is highly collaborative when working with her clients and their other advisors. She often views her role as a “translator” by carefully listening to her clients, analyzing their situation and helping them to understand their planning options and solutions in “plain English” big picture terms. Melinda notes, “I enjoy helping clients to navigate the process and design a customized solution that is flexible, practical and understandable.”

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Melinda to our firm,” said Elizabeth “Liz” Gray, who heads the firm’s Wills, Trusts & Estates Practice Group. “Melinda is the right person to join us in building a deeper wills, trusts and estates and tax practice; she has a wealth of experience and uniquely fits the bill with her wealth of technical experience and people skills.”

Melinda is listed among the Washingtonian’s Top Trusts and Estates Lawyers, and is a frequent speaker and writer on estate and trust planning. She is active in the estate planning community on a local and national level, and is a current/former Board member of the Northern Virginia and Washington DC Estate Planning Councils. Melinda was also recently appointed to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Legislative Committee for the Virginia Bar Association. A complete list of Melinda’s activities, as well as her presentations and publications, can be found on the firm’s website.

On a personal level, Melinda is a strong supporter of local philanthropy and the arts in Northern Virginia, and is a current Board member of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.  She is originally from Pittsburgh, and is an avid Steelers fan. Melinda currently resides in Reston, Virginia.


McCandlish & Lillard, P.C. is a mid-size law firm with offices in Fairfax and Leesburg.  The firm has been meeting the legal needs of businesses and individuals in Northern Virginia and throughout the Commonwealth for more than a century.  For more information regarding McCandlish & Lillard, P.C., call the firm at 703-273-2288 or visit our website at