A certified specialist in employment law since 1993, Malissa Burnette has a long history of fighting for social justice in cases that change lives.

Her causes have included a federal case that opened the doors of state-supported military schools to women. That case, The United States of America and Nancy Mellette v. James E. Jones, Jr., Chairman, Board of  Visitors of The Citadel, was still being litigated when The Citadel relented.

In South Carolina, Burnette represented Tara Bailey in a case that made it clear: girls can play contact sports in South Carolina public schools.

More recently, she and Nekki Shutt, another of the firm’s founding partners, were lead counsel in the case that made same-sex marriage legal in South Carolina.

She’s also fought to protect the rights of individuals, such as the police chief in a small South Carolina town who was fired after 23 years’ service. Burnette helped her win back her job after the mayor forced her out. He denied it was a case of workplace discrimination even after a recording of a homophobic rant was released.

Malissa is a skilled litigator, practicing in both state and federal courts. Most of her cases involve representing people in complex employment cases. These often involve issues such as:

  • Discrimination
  • Civil and constitutional rights
  • Sexual harassment
  • Breach of contract
  • Non-compete agreements
  • Wage claims
  • Academic tenure and promotions issues

In addition to employment law, Malissa also practices family law and personal injury law. She’s a certified federal mediator and experienced arbitrator as well.

Malissa is married to Michael G. LeFever. Their daughter, Grant Burnette LeFever, is an attorney at Burnette Shutt & McDaniel. She has served her community and the legal profession through numerous Bar positions, civic organizations, church boards and commissions.

She’s also served the public through a number of appointed positions over the years, ranging from The Governor’s Domestic Violence Task Force to the board of directors of South Carolina Equality. She was former Lt. Gov. Nancy Stevenson’s chief of staff.