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Melinda Kelley

Adjunct Instructor

Address: RSS Room 134
Office Hours: by appointment
Phone: 843.214.8266
Personal Website:

Originally from Tampa, Florida, Melinda Kelley has lived in South Carolina since 1974. After graduation with a B.A. in Geography/Urban Studies emphasis and Religious Studies from the University of South Carolina, Ms. Kelley worked in the field of municipal and county planning, in the public and private sectors, until going to Law School. While in Law School, she served as expert witness in planning and zoning cases in state and federal courts, and had a judicial internship with Alabama State Supreme Court Justice Richard “Red” Jones. Upon completion of Law School with a J.D. Degree, she began practicing law in Charleston, primarily in the administrative and regulatory areas of local government law, land use and environmental law, real estate law, and wills, estates, and probate administration. Ms. Kelley has been a member of the South Carolina Bar since 1992, and is of Counsel with the Finkel Law Firm, L.L.C.

Ms. Kelley has represented business owners, residential property owners, homeowners’ associations, and local government entities in administrative and regulatory cases brought before local Commissions, Boards, and Councils, and the Administrative Law Courts, Circuit Courts, Probate Courts, and the Appellate Courts in South Carolina. Melinda has served as municipal attorney for the Town of Lincolnville, S.C. since 2003, was past attorney for the Town James Island, (1993-1996), and handled the prosecution of non-jury criminal court cases for the City of Charleston (1997-2016).

She has been a member of the adjunct faculty in Urban Studies Program in the Political Science Department at the College of Charleston since 1994, teaching Urban Planning, Land Use Law, Water Use Law, and Suburbia: People, Places, and Politics. Ms. Kelley has served on the Urban Studies Executive Committee since 2007.

Ms. Kelley has taught continuing education classes for attorneys, planners, engineers, and real estate professionals from for the South Carolina Bar Continuing Education Division; Lorman Educational Services, and the National Business Institute. Additionally, she has written local government Zoning Ordinances, and has contributed to the drafting and preparation of Comprehensive Plans for several cities and counties in South Carolina. She served on the South Carolina Continuing Legal Education Seminar Committee from 2012-2015.

Ms. Kelley currently serves on the Board of the Wadmalaw Island Land Planning Committee, the Board of Directors of Bishop Gadsden, was past Chair of the Harmony Project Board of Directors, a non-profit organization that focused on neighborhood revitalization and sustainability, and served on the Boards of the Old Windermere and Creekside Neighborhood Associations.


B.A. University of South Carolina
J.D. Cumberland School of Law
Fields of specialization: Local Government Law; Land Use Law; Wills and Probate Law; Heirs’ Property Law