Michelle has been practicing criminal law for over 20 years, and her experience in the Roanoke area courts helps her deliver outstanding results for her clients. She believes that, regardless of perceived guilt, everyone deserves a good defense. The justice system, and in many ways peoples’ liberty, depends upon making the prosecution actually prove guilt. She considers that a privilege that should be exercised to ensure that good people aren’t punished without cause.
Michelle’s path to Roanoke included a number of stops along the way. She was born in Pennsylvania, raised in Southern California and moved to Atlanta before graduating high school. After high school, she settled down in Georgia for several years as she attended The University of Georgia for both her undergraduate and law degree. Michelle worked her way through college in an array of diverse jobs that included being a wine consultant, working in a malaria lab, and assisting at the Georgia State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Once she received her law degree, she immediately started building her criminal defense experience in the public defender’s office in Northern Georgia.
Attorney Derrico moved to Virginia in 1992 to continue her career as a criminal lawyer. She spent six years as an assistant public defender before joining a small private practice firm in Roanoke. In 2005, she joined Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico as a partner and has been serving the Roanoke community’s legal needs since then.
Outside of the office, Michelle spends a lot of her time training for her next marathon. She has completed six marathons over the last 13 months and she also just finished her first triathlon. Running is something that she has come to enjoy later in life, and she jokes that it’s the way she has chosen to express her mid-life crisis. While there might be some truth to that, the larger reason for running, as most marathon runners would attest, is the exhilaration of the race and sense of accomplishment that comes upon completion.
- Georgia, 1990
- Virginia, 1992
- U.S. District Court Western District of Virginia, 1998
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Georgia, 1990
- U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 1999
- University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, Georgia
- J.D. – 1990
- University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
- B.S.A. – 1981
- Major: Microbiology/Animal Science
- Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Law in Virginia, NBE, 2004
- Personal Injury for Paralegals, NBE, 2002
- Legal Writing, Virginia Western Community College, 1995 – 2006