Meet Melissa

Through Scholz Nonprofit Law, Melissa unites her expertise in nonprofit law with 30 years of experience as a community leader and fundraiser. Prior to forming Scholz Nonprofit Law in 2007, Melissa worked at a large Wisconsin law firm and developed a broad knowledge of legal issues that affect nonprofits. She brings this tax and business savvy into the firm, where she is able to tailor their service to the unique needs of nonprofits and mission-driven businesses.

Melissa grew up in California and received her B.A. in History from Stanford University. While at Stanford, she helped start the Stanford Public Service Center, which became a national model for other centers—including UW-Madison’s Morgridge Center for Public Service. She received her J.D. from University of Wisconsin Law School in 1995, where she graduated cum laude and as a member of the Order of the Coif.

Melissa lives in Madison with her husband, Karl, and their youngest daughter, while keeping up with their two adult daughters in Rhode Island and Chicago. When Melissa isn’t practicing law or working on a community issue, she enjoys being outdoors, hearing live music, cooking or eating good food, and being with family and friends.

Legal Experience includes:

  • Over ten years as principal attorney/owner of Scholz Nonprofit Law LLC, where she has represented hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout the country
  • Contributing author to the State Bar of Wisconsin’s publication A Guide for Wisconsin Nonprofit Organizations, fourth edition © 2018.
  • Clinical instructor for the UW-Madison Law School Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic lecturing on legal issues that affect nonprofits and supervising student attorneys working on legal matters for nonprofits
  • Twelve years practicing law in a large law firm, Godfrey & Kahn SC, serving as a member of the Corporate, Healthcare, Political and Tax practice groups. Practice included general corporate and tax advice for tax-exempt groups, ranging from large hospital systems to small community-based organizations. Work included contracts, financing transactions, governance issues, tax advice for 501(c)(3), (c)(4), and (c)(6) organizations, healthcare compliance, and guidance on lobbying and political activities

Community Engagement includes:

  • March for Our Lives Action Fund (Parkland, FL) – Vice Chair and Board member
  • Play Fair Wisconsin – Co-Founder/President of organization focused on redistricting and fair political maps
  • Other current Boards include: Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools, Building Brave (building confidence in women), Play Fair Wisconsin (fair voting maps), and UW-Madison Morgridge Center for Public Service Advisory Board
  • Previous experience includes President/Director/Capital Campaign for Porchlight (homeless assistance), Community Action Coalition, Fund for Women, and Chair of Pro Bono Trust Fund
  • Founding member of Center For Change, a collaborative project of Community Shares of Wisconsin
  • Volunteer at local public schools and former Girl Scout troop leader
  • Leadership Greater Madison, 2001

Other Experience includes:

  • Founding employee of the national non-profit organization, Campus Compact
  • Professional fundraiser for the University of Wisconsin Foundation
  • Elected member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors
  • Co-founder of a start-up ice cream company

Presentations include:

  • “Key Legal Issues for Development Professionals,” Madison Nonprofit Day
  • “Nonprofit Or Not: Earned Revenue by Nonprofits and Other Mission Related Ventures,” UW Law School and gBETA
  • “What is Collaboration? A Legal Perspective for Nonprofits,” Wegner CPAs Roundtable Series
  • “Social Ventures 101,” UW—Madison
  • “Guidelines for Advocacy by Nonprofits,” and “Responsibilities of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations,” United Way, Community Shares, and other conferences and community forums


Meet Jessica

Jessica Y. Harrison joined Scholz Nonprofit Law in the spring of 2010. Jessica began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Barbara B. Crabb of the Western District of Wisconsin.  Prior to joining the firm, Jessica was an instructor of legal writing and analysis at the University of Wisconsin Law School in the East Asian Legal Studies Center. Jessica is a 2000 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she was Senior Articles Editor of the Wisconsin Law Review and a member of Moot Court. During law school, Jessica spent a year in the Republic of Palau, a small island nation in Micronesia, where she researched land use issues and honed her scuba diving skills.

Jessica Harrison grew up in Kentucky and received her B.A. from Duke University in 1993 in Comparative Area Studies and French. In her free time, Jessica enjoys playing tennis and soccer, traveling, reading, and spending time with her spouse and their two children.


Presentations include:

  • “Responsibilities of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations,” United Way
  • “Duties and Protections of Directors,” various nonprofit boards
  • Contributing author to the State Bar of Wisconsin’s publication A Guide for Wisconsin Nonprofit Organizations, fourth edition © 2018.


Meet Sarah

Sarah Kissel joined Scholz Nonprofit Law in 2017, where she focuses on employment law. Prior to joining the firm, her legal experience included clerking for a circuit court judge in Dayton, Ohio, and serving as an employee liaison with Wisconsin Education Association Council. Sarah is a contributing author to the State Bar of Wisconsin’s publication A Guide for Wisconsin Nonprofit Organizations, fourth edition © 2018. She received her B.A. from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994 and her J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1998.

At Scholz Nonprofit Law, she considers it an honor to serve the clients’ various needs and to help be part of their success. Understanding and operating within the many laws and regulations relevant to Wisconsin employers can be complex. She appreciates the opportunity to serve as a resource on employment matters and help our clients devote more time to their mission, worry less, and avoid the risk of penalties.

Outside of work, Sarah enjoys being involved in the community through the public schools her children attend, leading a Girl Scout Troop, and serving on her church’s board for education. She loves spending time with her spouse and three daughters, practicing yoga, cooking, and reading.


Meet Melanie

Melanie Cohen joined Scholz Nonprofit Law in May 2015, as our Administrator and Chief of Keeping-It-All-Together. Melanie graduated from the University of Vermont in 1988, with a BA in Philosophy and Political Science, and from the University of Wisconsin Law School, in 1992, Order of the Coif. She practiced with LaFollette Sinykin, and at the Wisconsin Medical Society, before deciding to leave the active practice of law to spend more time with her family.

Melanie serves on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Madison, and Chair’s the Federation’s Midrasha Committee. She also volunteers at the Collector’s Corner consignment shop and in the Beth Israel Center library. She enjoys spending time with her husband and children, walking her dog, spending time in nature, and bantering with friends about current events.



Back to About page