Melanie S. Cliff

Melanie S. Cliff

  • Position: Partner
  • Experience:
  • Location: CAF Law Group 8444 Wilshire Blvd., 8th Floor Beverly Hills CA 90211
  • Email: melanie@caf-lawgroup.com
  • Phone: 323-202-2200
Contact:

Personal Experience & Biography

Melanie Cliff (Joo) is the co-managing partner of CAF Law Group in Beverly Hills, CA. Ms. Cliff is frequently retained in confidential and time sensitive matters, due to her experience and understanding of the automotive industry. She is a highly experienced legal and business advisor who is considered a “go-to” lawyer for challenging business initiatives and acts as outside personal counsel for various dealership groups across the state. In this capacity, Ms. Cliff supervises CAF’s legal team on complex litigation, class actions and general litigation defense. Ms. Cliff’s pragmatic approach identifies the legal liabilities and compliance risks for business teams, which allow for real life solutions in an increasingly unpredictable regulatory and litigation environment. Clients from varying industries seek and heed Cliff’s advice because of her practical approach to compliance problems and high-profile disputes.

Ms. Cliff also has a broad-based practice covering state and federal regulatory, franchise, licensing, advertising and distribution matters, where she has led numerous complex multistate surveys across the nation. She is recognized as a leading regulatory lawyer with exceptional experience in the automotive and technology start up space. Long-term clients continually look to Ms. Cliff to navigate the many regulations and compliance requirements at the federal, state and local levels. Ms. Cliff’s regulatory work with industry newcomers, including startup electric vehicle manufacturers and Internet based automotive companies, help identify and shape the direction of future law.

As an exclusive offering to automotive clients, Ms. Cliff’s team provides a unique state-by-state guidance for business entities entering and expanding in the highly regulated automotive market, whether as a manufacturer, distributer, dealer, supplier, or Internet-based/mobile application- based platform for cars. Ms. Cliff 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 business leadership with the big picture of pitfalls and opportunities that lay ahead and allows for strategic and focused planning.

Her most recent practice highlights includes:

Practice Highlights:

  • Serving as primary outside general counsel to a variety of individuals and companies, including entrepreneurs, emerging companies, as well as private dealership groups.
  • Leading a multi-state title branding survey for a national auto finance lender for increased consumer protection and transparency on branded title vehicles.
  • Directing a licensing and advertising regulatory project for the national rollout by a cutting edge automotive finance/lead generation mobile platform.
  • Mapping the nation’s title/registration regulatory framework for the developer of a privately funded vehicle leasing platform.
  • Negotiating a multi-million dollar fashion contract for products to be included in welcome kits for a German luxury vehicle manufacturer.
  • Extensive work with Korea-based clients on all aspects of doing business in the United States, including market entry, corporate formation, cross border transactions, licensing, advertising and distribution.

In addition to her successful practice, Ms. Cliff is heavily involved in various initiatives, which focus on women and minorities. She actively participates in various mentoring programs, including volunteering with Tulane Law School’s mentoring program. In her free time, Ms. Cliff enjoys driving her 1972 Datsun 510 and hanging out with her French bulldogs.

Previous Work

Prior to joining CAF Law Group in October of 2019, Ms. Cliff was a partner at a multiservice national law firm and an automotive boutique law firm in Los Angeles.

Professional Activities

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

Recognitions

  • Ms. Cliff has been recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the “Most Influential Women Lawyers” in 2019.

Education

  • Tulane Law School, New Orleans, J.D.
  • University of Southern California, Los Angeles, B.A.

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • Nevada

Court Admissions

  • All California state and appellate courts
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California