Melissa Hutson is a finance partner in Kirkland’s New York office and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. Melissa’s practice focuses on syndicated debt facilities, debt commitments and bridge loan financings for leveraged acquisitions by private equity firms, their portfolio companies and public and private companies. She also advises clients on a broad range of other secured lending and financing transactions, including debt restructurings.

Melissa advises private equity sponsors, borrowers and lenders in the structuring, negotiation and documentation of debt financing transactions. She has substantial experience in acquisition financings, recapitalizations and debt restructuring.

Melissa was recognized for her work in Banking & Finance in the 2021–2024 editions of Chambers Global and the 2020–2024 editions of Chambers USA, where clients note "She is very client relationship-focused in terms of response timing and communication style." "She is very smart and a very constructive partner." Clients also describe her as an “absolute superstar” and say they have “complete trust in her work product and counsel” in the 2020 edition of Chambers USA.


Thought Leadership

Speaking Engagements

Moderator, “Fireside Chat with Elinor Hoover, Citi,” KAYO Women’s Debt Finance Forum, November 2023

Moderator, "Credit Panel," Wharton Women in Investing Conference, February 10, 2023

Moderator, "Women's Leveraged Finance Forum," Kayo Conference Series, October 19, 2022


Named to IFLR1000 “Women Leaders,” 2022–2023

Named to "Top 22 in 2022: Women in Leveraged Finance,” Kayo Conference Series, 2022

Banking & Finance – USA, Chambers Global, 2021–2024

Banking & Finance, Chambers USA, 2020–2024

Shortlisted for Banking and Finance – IFLR1000’s Lawyer of the Year Award, 2021

Banking; Financial Restructuring, “Highly Regarded” IFLR1000, 2021–2022

Banking; M&A, “Notable Practitioner” IFLR1000, 2019–2020

500 Leading Lawyers in America, Lawdragon, 2020

Leading Lawyer – Commercial Lending, The Legal 500 United States, 2022–2023

Next Generation – Commercial Lending, The Legal 500 United States, 2020–2021

M&A – Large Deals ($1bn+), The Legal 500 United States, 2020


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 2003New York


  • University of Virginia School of LawJ.D.2001
  • University of VirginiaB.A.with High Honors1998