MELISSA BAUMAN WARD

Principal

PRACTICE AREAS

HOA Governance & Transactions | Director & Industry Education

MELISSA BAUMAN WARD

Principal

PRACTICE AREAS

HOA Governance & Transactions | Director & Industry Education

Board Whisperer. Gov Doc Maven. Problem Solver.

Areas of Expertise

  • Governing documents: drafting, amending, interpretation and enforcement of Bylaws, CC&Rs, rules, and policies
  • Corporate governance, including elections
  • Board and manager education
  • Dispute resolution, including IDR, ADR and agency actions
  • Mediation
  • Drafting, negotiation, interpretation and enforcement of contracts
  • Senior housing communities
  • Large-scale developments
  • Co-ops
With genuine care and concern, Melissa works with her association clients to manage all aspects of their common interest development communities. She assists boards with community maintenance responsibilities, governing document interpretation, enforcement and amendment and corporate governance issues.
Practical problem solving and personal attention are the hallmarks of Melissa’s practice. She loves uniquely challenging matters requiring modern creative solutions, and also enjoys educating newer boards and managers in best practices.

Experience & Background

  • Corporate/real estate attorney for more than 25 years
  • Recovering litigator
  • Exclusive community association representation since 2010
  • With HGCT since 2016, named Principal in 2017
  • Frequent industry speaker, author, and instructor at the local and state level

Industry Involvement

Community Associations Institute (CAI)
  • Amicus Curiae Review Committee (2019 to present)
  • College of Community Association Lawyers, Case Law Update Committee (2018 to 2020)
  • Bay Area Central California Chapter, Education Committee and Membership Committee
California Association of Community Managers (CACM)
  • Law Seminar Advisory Committee (2017 to present)
  • Guest Editor, Law Journal (Winter 2017)
Educational Community for Homeowners (ECHO)

Professional Affiliations

California Bar Association
  • Real Estate Section
Contra Costa Bar Association
  • Real Estate Section

Education

University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • Editor in Chief, Hastings International and Comparative Law Review
Yale University
  • BA in History

Bar Admissions

California

GET TO KNOW MELISSA

Melissa was born in Milwaukee and raised in Santa Rosa. Being creative with technical skills comes in handy when playing the cello, teaching a class, or, of course, practicing law. Her favorite foods are sushi, chocolate, strawberries, and cheese – but not necessarily together.

FUN FACTS:

  • Plays the cello
  • Skillful knitter
  • Makes killer guacamole

A huge Harry Potter fan, Melissa identifies as a Ravenclaw and prefers an Ivy wand.

Community Involvement

  • City of Walnut Creek (CA), Planning Commissioner (2019 to present)
  • City of Walnut Creek (CA), Transportation Commissioner (2015 to 2019)
  • P.E.O. International, Chapter QC, President
  • Diablo Symphony Association, Board of Directors, Past-President (2012 to 2017)
  • Diablo Symphony Orchestra, Cello Section Member
  • Yale University, Alumni Schools Committee

Presentations & Publications

When Mental Illness Issues Intersect with Harassment Claims
  • The Communicator; Fall 2020
    Community Associations Institute (CAI), Bay Area/Central California Chapter
Marijuana in HOAs
  • The Communicator; Spring 2020
    Community Associations Institute (CAI), Bay Area/Central California Chapter
Equal Access to Association Media in HOA Elections
  • The Communicator; Winter 2020
    Community Associations Institute (CAI), Bay Area/Central California Chapter
Mental Health Issues in HOAs
  • ECHO Journal; July/August 2019
    Educational Community for HOA Homeowners (ECHO)
 “That’s Not Fair!” How to Draft Rules and Policies that Comply with Fair Housing Laws
  • The Communicator; Fall 2018
    Community Associations Institute (CAI), Bay Area/Central California Chapter
Understanding the Architectural Review Process
  • CACM Law Journal; Fall 2018
    California Association of Community Managers (CACM)
Enforcing Rental Restrictions; Tools, Tips and Techniques for Success
The Importance of Community and Mental Health
  • National Law Seminar; January 2021
    Community Associations Institute, College of Community Association Lawyers
Mental Health in HOAs – Talking about Mental Health and Wellness in Community Associations
  • National Webinar; February 2020
    Community Associations Institute
HOA Election Trends: Does Increasing Government Regulation Protect or Harm?
  • National Law Seminar; January 2020
    Community Associations Institute, College of Community Association Lawyers
Mental Health and Wellness in HOAs
  • Educational Webinar; May 2020
    Community Associations Institute, Bay Area/Central California Chapter
  • Board Member Educational Workshop; October 2019
    Homeowners Management Company
  • Monterey Fall Seminar; October 2019
    Educational Community for HOA Homeowners (ECHO)
  • Wine Country Fall Seminar; September 2019
    Educational Community for HOA Homeowners (ECHO)
Senate Bill 323: What You Need to Know
  • Manager Education; Fall 2019
    Various Management Companies
Power to the People: Recalls, Petitions, and Other Demands for Board Action
  • Northern California Legal Forum; September 2019
    Community Associations Institute
Marijuana Issues in HOAs
  • Manager and Board Member Conference; September 2019
    Levy, Erlanger & Company, CPAs
  • East Bay Educational Forum; March 2019
    Educational Community for HOA Homeowners (ECHO)
  • Santa Cruz Educational Forum; March 2019
    Educational Community for HOA Homeowners (ECHO)
The Ins and Outs of Onsite Management
  • Southern California Annual Law Seminar and Expo; March 2019
    California Association of Community Managers
Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should: Enforcement without Remorsement
  • Annual California Legal Forum; October 2018
    Community Associations Institute (CAI)
  • Northern California Legal Forum; September 2018
    Community Associations Institute (CAI)
Is Your Wish My Command? Responding to Requests
  • Annual Educational Forum; October 2018
    Community Associations Institute, Bay Area/Central California Chapter
  • Annual California Legal Forum; October 2017
    Community Associations Institute (CAI)
  • Educational Lunch; January 2017
    Community Associations Institute, Bay Area/Central California Chapter
When is Your Home Not Your Castle? Enforcement of Nuisance and Neighbor Disputes
  • Educational Lunch; October 2017
    Community Associations Institute (CAI), Bay Area/Central California Chapter
  • Monterey Educational Forum; October 2017
    Educational Community for Homeowners (ECHO)
Short Term Rentals
  • Annual Educational Forum and Expo; June 2017
    Educational Community for Homeowners (ECHO)
Short Term Rentals, Long Term Challenges: Rising to the Challenge of Today’s Sharing Economy
  • East Bay Educational Forum; April 2017
    Educational Community for Homeowners (ECHO)
  • Northern California Law Seminar and Expo; January 2017
    California Association of Community Managers (CACM)
  • Monterey Educational Forum; October 2016
    Educational Community for Homeowners (ECHO)
Short Term Rentals, Long Term Challenges: Rising to the Challenge of Today’s Sharing Economy
  • East Bay Educational Forum; April 2017
    Educational Community for Homeowners (ECHO)
  • Northern California Law Seminar and Expo; January 2017
    California Association of Community Managers (CACM)
  • Monterey Educational Forum; October 2016
    Educational Community for Homeowners (ECHO)
Drone Wars
  • Annual California Legal Forum; October 2016
    Community Associations Institute (CAI)
Law Module IV: Meetings and Records
  • Instructor – core course required for the Certified Community Association Manager (“CCAM”) designation; August 2017
    California Association of Community Managers (CACM)
Board Member Education
Management Company and Board Education Events
Various Clients
  • Board Member Orientation
  • Board Orientation for Managers
  • Fiduciary Duty and Challenges Facing Voluntary Directors
  • New Legislation and Case Law Update
  • Elections and Election Rules
  • Right of Entry
  • Reasonable Accommodations