Melanie Jane Kilpatrick

Melanie Jane Kilpatrick

Lexington, Kentucky
(859) 245-1231

Melanie J. Kilpatrick practices in the areas of mineral and energy, employment law, and commercial litigation. She has authored articles and given presentations on topics of interest in the mineral and energy, employment and education law fields. She is experienced in arguing appellate cases before the United States Court of Appeals, the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. Ms. Kilpatrick has been admitted to practice before the Kentucky Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Sixth and D.C. Circuits.

Ms. Kilpatrick serves on the Board of Directors for the Thomas D. Clark Foundation and Radio Eye, Inc. She is a member of the Fayette County, Kentucky, Federal and American Bar Associations. Ms. Kilpatrick serves on the Scholarship Committee of the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation. She has been recognized in the listing of Kentucky Super Lawyers from 2012-2017.

Ms. Kilpatrick was Articles Editor (1995-96) and a Staff Member (1994-95) for the Kentucky Law Journal. She served as law clerk to the Honorable Eugene E. Siler, Jr. on the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1996-97. Ms. Kilpatrick received her B.A. degree with High Honors in 1992 from the University of Virginia and her J.D. degree (valedictorian) from the University of Kentucky in 1996.

Areas of Practice

  • 35% Mineral And Energy
  • 30% Employment Law
  • 25% Education
  • 10% Commercial Litigation

Litigation Percentage

  • 95% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Supreme Court of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky, 1998
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District of Kentucky, 1999
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1999
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1996
  • Kentucky, 1996
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, 2003


  • University of Kentucky College of Law, Lexington, Kentucky
    • J.D. summa cum laude - 1996
    • Honors: Valedictorian
    • Honors: Order of the Coif
    • Law Journal: Kentucky Law Journal, Articles Editor, 1995 - 1996
    • Law Journal: Kentucky Law Journal, Staff Member, 1994 - 1995
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
    • B.A. magna cum laude - 1992
    • Honors: With High Honors
    • Major: French
    • Major: Foreign Affairs

Published Works

  • Legislation by Mine Plan: Can Laws Be Created at the District Level?, Energy & Mineral Law Institute, 2011
  • Small Employers Bear the Brunt of OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, Kentucky Business Quarterly, March, 2016
  • Preparing Employee Handbooks: Ensuring Compliance with the NLRA, Attorney at Law Magazine, 2014


  • Presenter, Mineral, Energy and Employment Law Fields
  • Mine Safety & Health Review, Energy & Mineral Law Foundation & University of Kentucky Mineral Law Center
  • Coal Mine Mapping, U.S. Department of Labor & Energy & Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF)
  • MSHA's Right to Information, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation & EMLF
  • Legislation by Mine Plan, Energy & Mineral Law Institute
  • MSHA Enforcement over Engineers and Engineering Consultants, Society of Mining Engineers
  • Temporary Reinstatement Under The Mine Act, Special Institute on Mine Safety & Health
  • Challenges to MSHA Enforcement of its POV Rule, EMLF
  • Mining Regulation, University of Kentucky
  • Recent Decisions and Trends in Labor and Employment Law, Society for Human Resource Management

Honors and Awards

  • Super Lawyers, 2012 - 2017

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Fayette County Bar Association, Member
  • Kentucky Bar Association, Member
  • Federal Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Lexington Chamber of Commerce's Class of Leadership Lexington, Member, 2005 - 2006
  • Kentucky Coal Association
  • Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, Scholarship Committee

Past Employment Positions

  • Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP, Attorney, 1997 - 2005
  • Hon. Eugene E. Siler, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for 6th Circuit, Law Clerk, 1996 - 1997

Pro Bono Activities

  • The Thomas D. Clark Foundation, Inc., Board Member , 2002 - Present
  • Alzheimer's Association, 2003 - 2007
  • Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, Trustee
  • Radio Eye, Inc., Board Member, 2006 - Present
  • Pro Bono Services for Fayette County Pro Bono Office, 2006 - Present


  • Kappa Delta