Melba Hughes is a Partner, Executive Director of In-House Counsel Recruiting and the National In-House Diversity Practice Leader. She works collaboratively with her counterparts across the U.S. to develop strategy and implement process improvements for business development and relationship building. She coaches, mentors and guides recruiters, providing leadership, counseling and motivation needed to help them succeed and thrive.

A change agent and leader, Melba has been instrumental in placing general counsel in Fortune 500 companies, such as McDonald’s and Phillips 66. Her client base includes Albertsons; Home Depot, Inc.; Entergy Corporation; Southwire; Southern Poverty Law Center; Flowserve Corporation and The Azek Company. She has extensive experience in a variety of industries including manufacturing, energy, consumer products and healthcare. As the National In-House Diversity Practice Leader, Melba employs her knowledge and expertise to develop and implement programs that promote diversity and inclusion within the legal community. She was recognized for her expertise in Lawdragon's Global 100 Leaders in Legal Strategy & Consulting in 2022 and 2023.


Melba lives in Midtown Atlanta with her husband, James B. Hughes Jr., a law professor with Emory University School of Law. A native of Jamaica, she appreciates Caribbean history, foreign travel and World Cup soccer. She enjoys cooking, music, gardening and the beach. Her favorite spot at home is the front porch with a good book and a cup of coffee.

Melba joined Major, Lindsey & Africa as a partner in 2012. She is committed to advancing DE&I in leadership and has devoted much of her career to advancing that cause. She actively partners with her clients to help them meet their objectives and to attract the best talent. She does so by focusing on the goal of increasing the representation of historically underrepresented groups in senior leadership teams. She has been the recruiter of choice for Fortune 500 companies, pre-IPO organizations and not-for-profit entities.

Melba has assisted countless corporations in attracting and developing talent to a variety of legal departments. She brings deep expertise, considerable experience and an extensive network in the diversity space to assist her clients in meeting and exceeding their objectives in talent acquisition.

An innovative and creative leader in the legal search field, Melba, in conjunction with the Emory University School of Law, launched the Diversity Speakers Series in 2014. She is an active professional and community leader, serving on the boards of several charitable and nonprofit organizations, including the Kanuga Conferences, Inc. and The Paideia School.

She is a certified professional career coach and a graduate of Leadership Atlanta, who is frequently invited to present at and participate in national conferences and seminars. Her speaking engagements have included Harvard Law School's Fall Market Series; Women, Influence and Power National Conference; and Corporate Counsel Women of Color. She is regularly featured in the business and legal press, including The Atlanta Business Chronicle, The American Lawyer magazine and the Altman Weil Inc. newsletter.

University of Connecticut: B.A., with honors

Melba has successfully completed placements throughout the country and in a variety of industries and organizations. Representative public company and large private company general counsel searches have included:

  • McDonald’s
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Hayward
  • University of the South
  • Carter's Inc.
  • Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc.
  • Storage Post
  • Wingstop Restaurants, Inc.

Representative leadership searches have included:

  • The Home Depot, Inc.
  • Entergy Corporation
  • Southwire Company, LLC
  • Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
View More

National Association of Legal Search Consultants, Executive Director, Board Member and Officer

National Urban League's Director Inclusion Program, Member

Corporate Director's Group

Leadership Atlanta

The Paideia School

Related Content

No More Results