April 7, 2013 | last updated April 7, 2013 10:00 pm

Melissa Levine-Piro: Attorney, Levine & Piro, Maynard

Matt Volpini

VIEW: Melissa Levine-Piro, Levine & Piro

Since graduating law school and opening her own firm in downtown Maynard two years ago, attorney Melissa Levine-Piro has established herself as a community-minded lawyer.

"She's a powerful, dynamic woman," said Sarah Fletcher, executive director of the Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce.

Levine-Piro, 27, will join the Middlesex West Board of Directors in April. And she recently earned the chamber's 2013 Rising Star award, in recognition of her role as a young person making strides in the community, Fletcher said.

Community outreach seems to define Levine-Piro, an Acton resident, both professionally and in her free time.

Representing The Vulnerable

At the office, Levine-Piro and her business partner and husband, Kyle Piro, have a policy of never turning away a client in need of family law services — one of Levine-Piro's specialties — because they can't afford it.

She said she has a particular interest in providing legal services to victims of domestic violence, having worked for a domestic violence prevention organization before she earned her degree from New England School of Law.

"I got to school and really loved the law side of it," said Levine-Piro, who also specializes in construction law, contracts and general civil litigation.

And she saw a real need for affordable attorneys in family law. Levine-Piro said the average person can't even afford the thousands of dollars it costs to retain an attorney, which is why Levine-Piro doesn't take retainers.

'It's All About Drive'

Of course, Levine-Piro has a business sense, too. Drawing on the experience of her father, a self-employed optometrist, and the knowledge she gained from researching how to launch a firm, Levine-Piro and her husband were able to do something their corporate firm-employed friends wouldn't dream of: pay themselves. It took about eight months for the business to hit its stride, according to Levine-Piro.

Armed with a five-year business plan that Levine-Piro and her husband developed with help from a business advisor program at Clark University in Worcester, the pair hopes for continued success.

"I think it's all about drive," Levine-Piro said.

Levine-Piro certainly doesn't lack it. In addition to the Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce, she is heavily involved with a number of nonprofit organizations and professional associations, as a board member for the Assabet Valley Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Maynard Business Alliance, the Maynard Revitalization Committee and a number of bar associations. She has also received training in advocating for victims of domestic violence.

And, she disclosed, she's thinking about running for public office in the future.

Meeting The 'Movers And Shakers'

Levine-Piro may be satisfying altruistic tendencies through community involvement, which she admitted leaves little time for sleep. But Fletcher, of the Middlesex West chamber, said it's also smart to be actively involved in one's community.

"You know, when you get involved with nonprofits, you're also connecting with a lot of community leaders. They're the movers and shakers," Fletcher said. "You're networking with people who are making a difference."

Meeting the movers and shakers has helped Levine-Piro and her husband introduce themselves to local business contacts, who don't always expect to find 20-somethings running in the same circles, Levine-Piro said. But they're happy to shake things up a bit.

"I think once people get to know us, especially older business owners, (age) really doesn't matter," Levine-Piro said. n

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