Melody is President and Expert Consultant at Harkness Consulting Solutions, LLC, a business consulting company specializing in strategic planning and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives for groups worldwide.
She previously served as Private Attorney Involvement coordinator for the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York (LASNNY), spearheading the Closing the Gap project, a nationally recognized, remote pro bono program. Under her leadership, pro bono assistance tripled services provided in LASNNY’s rural and isolated communities on housing and consumer issues and is modeled by programs in New York City, Ohio, Virginia, and California. The program now serves around 200 unrepresented litigants annually with participation from attorneys in areas as far as: New Zealand, St. Kitts, and the Netherlands. Additionally, she restructured and expanded the firm’s Attorney for the Day tenant defense pro bono program in the City of Albany to city courts in Glens Falls, Ogdensburg, Troy, and Plattsburgh, currently being funded by the Attorney General’s Tenant Legal Assistance Program. Before joining LASNNY, Harkness coordinated Legal Aid of North Carolina’s statewide Lawyer on the Line program.
Harkness earned a Master of Legal Studies degree from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies with a community development concentration from North Carolina State University.
In 2018, she was recognized with the Capital District Women’s Bar Association Exemplary Community Service Award, which recognizes a distinguished individual’s service to the greater Capital District community, promotes the advancement of women who are involved in or affected by the legal system, and provides other sustained acts of public service and community education.