Melissa Bayer Tearney

Litigation Department Co-Chair

t 617-248-4068   f 617-248-4000

Melissa Tearney is co-chair of the firm’s Litigation Department.  She has been named a “Top Woman of Law” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, a “2016 Woman of Influence” by the Boston Business Journal, is a Massachusetts Super Lawyer and is listed in Best Lawyers in America.

Practice Focus

Government Enforcement & Compliance:  Ms. Tearney represents individuals and corporations in criminal matters in several substantive legal areas, including: healthcare fraud and abuse; foreign corrupt practices; bank fraud; financial fraud; hazardous waste and other environmental violations; customs violations; antitrust violations; and civil and criminal RICO. She routinely represents clients before state and federal grand juries and investigative bodies and has extensive trial and appellate experience. She also assists clients to develop programs to comply with all applicable laws and prepares compliance manuals to prevent governmental or regulatory scrutiny. 

Representative Engagements

  • Defense of international pharmaceutical companies in federal and state investigations involving sales and pricing practices.
  • Defense of international medical device company in federal criminal and civil investigation alleging Anti-Kickback Statute violations.
  • Defense of metal refining company for foreign corrupt practices and customs violations.
  • Investigation of allegations that public company engaged in FCPA violations in China.
  • Investigation of allegations that public company engaged in FCPA violations in Brazil and management of subsequent voluntary disclosure.
  • Defense of academicians and universities in research misconduct proceedings.
  • Defense of individual executives in federal and state investigations targeting international pharmaceutical companies.
  • Defense of medical device company in civil False Claims Act litigation.
  • Defense of individuals against allegations of environmental violations.
  • Defense of companies and executives against allegation of accounting fraud.
  • Design and implementation of compliance programs for multinational public companies.

Publications and Presentations

Professional and Community Involvement

Ms. Tearney is a member of Hebrew SeniorLife’s Board of Directors and chair of the board’s Governance and Conflicts Committees as well as a member of the Development and Audit and Compliance Committees. She is a member of Greater Boston Legal Services and serves on its Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Ms. Tearney also serves on Camp Bauercrest’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee and is chair of Thayer Academy Board of Trustees. She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association and Phi Beta Kappa. Additionally, Ms. Tearney is a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee and its Pro Bono Committee, and has served as co-chair of the firm’s Hiring Committee and Summer Program.


Thank you for reaching out to contact Choate. Before you send your message, we wanted to make sure you are aware of the following. Please do not send any confidential information in response to this link. Sending an e-mail to Choate does not give rise to an attorney-client relationship, and will not be deemed to disqualify Choate from undertaking any engagement for a current or future client.  Before any attorney-client engagement may be formed, Choate will need to check for possible conflicts of interest, you will need to consider whether you wish to retain Choate as counsel, and we will need to consider whether we wish to accept the potential engagement. In the meantime, Choate reserves the right to represent parties with interests adverse to you.