115 West Washington Street
Suite 1080 South Tower
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Melissa S. May was appointed to the Indiana Court of Appeals by Governor Frank O’Bannon in April of 1998. She was born in Elkhart, Indiana. She received a B.S. in criminal justice from Indiana University-South Bend and, in 1984, a J.D. from Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. She is also a graduate of the Graduate Program for Indiana Judges.
Prior to her appointment to the Court, Judge May practiced law for fourteen years in Evansville, Indiana, where she focused on insurance defense and personal injury litigation.
Judge May has been active in local, state, and national bar associations and bar foundations. She served the Indiana Bar Association on the Board of Managers from 1992-1994, as Chair of the Litigation Section from 1998-1999, as Counsel to the President from 2000-2001, as Chair of the Appellate Practice Section from 2008-2009, and as Secretary to the Board of Governors in 2008-2009. She is also a member of the Indianapolis Bar Association and the Evansville Bar Association. She is a fellow of the Indiana Bar Foundation and is currently serving on their Board of Directors. Judge May is a fellow for the American Bar Association, and a Master Fellow of the Indianapolis Bar Association.
From 1999 until December 2004, Judge May was a member of Indiana’s Continuing Legal Education Commission, where she chaired the Specialization Committee. She is currently on an Advisory Panel to the Specialization Committee. In 2005, she was named to the Indiana Pro Bono Commission and in July 2008, she was named as Chair of that Commission. While chair, she worked with the fourteen pro bono districts to train lawyers and mediators on how to assist homeowners facing foreclosure. Judge May was appointed to the Coalition for Court Access in 2018. In addition, she was a member of the Board of Directors of the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum from 1994-1999 and has been a co-chair of ICLEF's Indiana Trial Advocacy College from 2001 to present. Judge May also served on the Civil Instruction Committee, an Indiana Judicial Conference Committee, which has been working to translate all of the civil jury instructions into “plain English.” She frequently speaks on legal topics to attorneys, other judges, schools, and other professional and community organizations.
In 2003, Judge May was named to the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Attorney Specialization. She is now special counsel to that committee. In the spring of 2004, Judge May became adjunct faculty at Robert H. McKinney School of Law, where she teaches a trial advocacy course. Also in the spring of 2004, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law from the University of Southern Indiana. In 2015, Judge May became a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 2023, the Indiana Bar Foundation presented her with the Champion of Civil Legal Assistance Award. Judge May was retained on the Court of Appeals in 2010 and 2020, and lives in Marion County.