Melody practices professional liability defense, including the defense of attorneys, architects & engineers, real estate professionals, accountants, home inspectors & appraisers, land surveyors, directors & officers of  profit and non-profit corporations and other non-medical professionals. Melody is Section Leader for the Firm’s Professional Liability practice group and she has maintained an active leadership role in the Defense Research Institute (DRI)’s Professional Liability Committee since 2009, serving two terms as its Chair from 2019-2021.

Melody’s dedication to professional liability defense includes counseling her professional clients on their ethical obligations and – if a mistake is made – assisting her clients in determining if the error can be corrected or the damage lessened and a claim or lawsuit avoided.

In addition to professional liability defense, Melody’s legal experience includes community associations litigation, representation of corporations in business disputes and general liability matters.

In 2013, she was appointed to the Lawyers Mutual Eastern Carolina Community Board and she currently still serves in that role. In 2017, Melody accepted an invitation to membership in the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC).  Melody is an active member of the Professional Liability Attorney Network (PLAN), a national organization of independent, AV-rated law firms, specializing in all aspects of professional liability and related-industry law, and she also frequently presents on professional liability topics at DRI, PLAN, and other seminars.

Melody maintains an AV rating with Martindale-Hubbell, a prestigious peer review rating that recognizes attorneys who have reached high levels of skill and integrity. She has been named by North Carolina Super Lawyers® as a Rising Star:  2010 – 2019, and as a Super Lawyer: 2020 – 2022.  Melody has been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the field of Professional Malpractice Law: 2018 – 2022, and she was recognized among the Benchmark 40 & Under 2019 Hot List in the field of Professional Liability Defense. Melody received the “2008 Power of Justice Pro Bono Impact Award” presented by NC Bar Association and Business Leader Magazine.

Outside of the office, Melody serves on the Board of Directors – Executive Committee (2021 – present) for the Coastal Pop Warner Cowboys Football and Cheerleading Association, a non-profit educational organization providing a supervised program of competitive athletic activities, and she is the President of the Homeowners’ Association in her community.

Articles, Presentations, and Publications

  • “Admissibility of Licensing Board Decisions in Related (or Unrelated) Civil Actions,” PLAN webinar, October 2021.
  • DRI Professional Liability Seminar, Steering Committee, 2011-2021.
  • “This Case is Killing Me!” NC Lawyers’ Mutual Risk Management CLE Series, January, 2020.
  • “Even Homer Nods: What to Look Out for in Professional Indemnity Claims,” DRI International Dispute Resolution Conference, London, England, June 14, 2018.
  • “Attacks on Professional Licensure,” DRI Professional Liability Seminar, December 2017.
  • Lawyers’ Professionalism and Ethics and Professional Liability: “I Made a Mistake! What Now? Don’t Make It Worse!” DRI Annual Meeting, October 2016.
  • “Win, Lose, or Draw: Building Your Way out of a Complex Construction Case as the Design Professional,” DRI Professional Liability Seminar, December 2016.
  • “Applicability of Professional Services Exemptions Under State Consumer Protection Statutes,” 2010.


Most Recent Posts

  News

Melody Jolly Honored with 2022 Leaders in the Law Award

Melody Jolly was recently honored as a member of the North Carolina Lawyers Weekly Leaders in the Law Class of 2022.  North Carolina Lawyers Weekly presents this peer-nominated award annually to honor legal professionals licensed and practicing law in the state of North Carolina who have gone above and beyond in their profession and their community. These honorees represent the most influential individuals within the state’s legal community.… Read More

  News

Laura Dean and Melody Jolly Serve as Leaders at the 2020 DRI Professional Liability Seminar

DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar

Laura Dean helped spearhead the planning and implementation of the 2020 Virtual DRI Professional Liability Seminar, which was held on Dec. 2, 2020. Originally slated as an in-person event in New York City, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a change in plans. The 2020 Virtual Professional Liability Program featured prominent attorneys and industry leaders from across the county. Laura served as Vice-Chair of the Program and will serve as the Program Chair in 2021. … Read More

  News

Melody Jolly Highlighted in For the Defense

DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar

Melody Jolly, an attorney at Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner), was highlighted in the April edition of For the Defense, a publication of DRI. The April edition featured articles from several substantive law committees, including the Professional Liability Committee, for which Melody currently serves as Chair. Melody’s article, “From the Chair: Attorney and Counselor at Law,” discusses how the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted her role as an attorney and underscores the DRI Professional Liability Committee’s commitment to the well-being of its members, clients and the industry as a whole.… Read More

  News

Cranfill Sumner Adds Staff to Wilmington Office

Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner) today announced additions to its staff in Wilmington. Sarah Johann has been promoted to the position of Legal Assistant/Paralegal. Hannah Morris has joined Cranfill Sumner as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal. Evelyn Tordoff has joined the firm as a Paralegal.… Read More

  News

Melody Jolly Presents at Risk Management CLE Series

Melody Jolly | Professional Liability Attorney Wilmington NC

Melody Jolly was a featured speaker at recent risk management CLE events held by Lawyers Mutual. Melody, along with Claire Modlin – VP of Claims at Lawyers Mutual, discussed best practices for client engagement and disengagement in a segment entitled, “This Case is Killing Me!”… Read More

  News

Melody Jolly Appointed Chair of the DRI Professional Liability Committee

Leadership

Melody Jolly, a Partner in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner), has been appointed the Chair of the DRI Professional Liability Committee for 2019-2020. She previously served two terms as the Committee’s Vice Chair and has served in an active leadership role with the Committee since 2009. She also frequently presents on professional liability topics at DRI and other seminars.… Read More

  News

Melody Jolly and Patrick Mincey Recognized by Benchmark 40 & Under 2019 Hot List

Close up of star awards

Melody Jolly and Patrick Mincey, attorneys in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner LLP, were recently recognized among the Benchmark 40 & Under 2019 Hot List. The list recognizes law firm partners in the United States and Canada who are accomplished in their practice areas. Benchmark compiles the list based on several phases of research, including a review of candidates’ recent case work, peer review, and client feedback on their performance.… Read More

  News

Cranfill Sumner Women’s Initiative Names New Leaders

Leadership

Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner) has named Melody Jolly, Stephanie Gaston Poley and Virginia Wooten as the new leaders of its Women’s Initiative. The Women’s Initiative empowers our women attorneys to discuss and act on issues that are important to them. The group holds an annual retreat and events throughout the year.… Read More

  News

Melody Jolly to Present at DRI Professional Liability Conference

DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar

Melody Jolly, Co-Chair of the Professional Liability Practice Group at Cranfill Sumner LLP, will present at the 2018 Professional Liability Seminar offered by DRI. Melody’s presentation is entitled “When Iron Rod Found Conflicts with Iron Rod Set: Liability of Land Surveyors” and will occur on Nov. 29.… Read More

  News

Melody Jolly to Speak at International DRI Seminar

Keyboard with an "information" button instead of "enter" button

On June 14, Melody Jolly will speak at the DRI Hot Topics in International Dispute Resolution seminar. Melody will serve on a panel discussion entitled “Even Homer Nods: What to Look out for in Professional Indemnity Claims.”… Read More

  News

Melody Jolly Attends ABA Conference

Melody Jolly | Professional Liability Attorney Wilmington NC

Melody Jolly, a partner based in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner LLP, attended the American Bar Association 2018 National Legal Malpractice Conference in Washington, D.C. on April 27.… Read More

  News

Melody Jolly Selected to Join IADC

Melody Jolly, a partner based in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner), has been selected to join the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC).… Read More

  News

Cranfill Sumner Attorneys to Lead PLAN Webinar

PLAN Logo

On Sept. 21, Dan Katzenbach and Melody Jolly will present the PLAN Webinar “Win, Lose, or Draw: Building Your Way Out of a Complex Construction Case As the Design Professional.” The webinar is presented by PLAN, the Professional Liability Attorney Network.… Read More

  News

Melody Jolly Presents at Professional Liability Seminar

DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar

Melody Jolly, an attorney in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner LLP, is speaking at the DRI Professional Liability seminar. Melody’s presentation, “Win, Lose, or Draw: Building Your Way out of a Complex Construction Case as the Design Professional,” is scheduled for today at 10:55 a.m. She is also on the Steering Committee for both the Professional Liability Committee and the Seminar.… Read More

  News

Melody Jolly to Speak at DRI Annual Meeting

DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar

Melody Jolly will present at the Lawyers’ Professionalism and Ethics Committee and Professional Liability Committee joint-CLE during the DRI Annual Meeting in Boston. Melody, an attorney in Cranfill Sumner LLP’s Wilmington office, will participate in the panel discussion entitled, “I Made a Mistake! What Now? Don’t Make It Worse!” on Oct. 21. Melody is also the Annual Meeting Chair for the Professional Liability Committee.… Read More