Melissa Sayer, Principal
For over twenty five years, Melissa’s advice has helped businesses and entrepreneurs of all sizes thrive. After finishing first in her law school class at Santa Clara School of Law and working with some of the top firms in Silicon Valley and Ventura County, she launched Matilija Law to deliver practical and thoughtful counsel in an efficient manner suited to the needs of a contemporary business. Melissa believes that careful attention early is always preferable to litigation later, and strives to make sure issues are identified and resolved in advance. Melissa is a frequent speaker on business issues and active with the National Association of Women Business Owners, MVS School of Business & Economics California State University Channel Islands, and other community organizations.
When not in the office, she might be found at her avocado ranch near Santa Paula; an experience that has deepened her appreciation for the challenges faced by farmers and small businesses in our region. In addition to spending time on the ranch with her goats, dogs, cats and chickens, she spends time kayaking and training for her next 10K.
Credentials and Recognition
Pacific Coast Business Times: “Top 50 Women in Business” 2019, 2015, 2014
Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award: Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation winner 2020, and Finalist 2019, 2017
Pacific Coast Business Times: “Who’s Who in Professional Services” 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017
Trusted Advisers Finalist: San Fernando Valley Business Journal 2017
Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating (Highest Rating) Ongoing
State Bar of California and Ventura County Bar Association
JD, Santa Clara University , Summa Cum Laude (1994)
BA Eckerd College (1989) Environmental Studies/Earth Sciences
Political Science High Honors
Business Advisory Council MVS School of Business & Economics California State University Channel Islands
Business and Technology Partnership California State University Channel Islands
Former Member of the Board of Directors of Ventura Economic Development Association (VCEDA)
Founding Member League of Extraordinary Women -WEV (Womens Economic Ventures)
Community Advisory Council and Pro Bono Adviser-WEV (Womens Economic Ventures)
National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
Ventura County Farm Bureau
Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG)
California Women for Agriculture
Ventura Chamber of Commerce
Dean Hazard, Of Counsel
In his nearly 40 years as an attorney, Dean Hazard has tried approximately 50 bench and jury trials representing plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury, real estate and business disputes. In addition to his litigation experience, Dean has provided general business advice to a variety of business clients regarding ownership issues and general corporate governance. After a long career as a trial lawyer, Dean is now concentrating on his business clients.
His extensive expertise and keen eye for detail enable him to quickly zero in on what’s most important to a particular issue.
As a volunteer, Dean served as a settlement officer and arbitrator in Ventura County for more than 25 years, and a judge pro tem in Ventura Superior Court for more than 15 years.
He received his undergraduate degree cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1978 and graduated from UCLA Law School in 1982. He’s an AV-rated attorney (the highest rating possible from the only national rating service for attorneys) and member of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates. A former board member and president of the Ventura County Trial Lawyers Association, he also served on the Ventura County Bar Association board.
A Ventura resident, Dean and his wife have lived in the county since 1983. They have three grown children and four grandchildren. In his free time, he likes to mountain bike, swim, and travel. He’s also a passionate surfer.