Lawyers to help you

Melissa Denton & Ingrid Zerpa - a great team

Melissa Denton, Senior Lawyer

Melissa Denton is the founding partner and senior lawyer at Ascher & Denton. She has practiced family law in Thurston County since 1990.

Melissa's focus is on helping folks who want to resolve their cases with a minimum of ugly court action. While the courts are essential and necessary when people just can't agree, it is so much wiser to handle personal family issues privately and with a minimum of expense when acceptable agreements can be reached. When the court is needed, Melissa tries to keep that expensive alternative to a minimum so that families can begin to heal in a new form rather than being further damaged by the adversarial process required in court.

One Lawyer

Melissa has pioneered a new way of practicing law, called One Lawyer. Please be sure to check out the description of One Lawyer on our website. It works wonderfully when both sides have the trust and respect necessary to work together for an agreed, no court needed, resolution.

Recent Advice

Melissa Denton gives free advice by volunteering at the local legal services clinic, to the Olympia Free Clinic (medical help for the poor) and on the AVVO web site. Click here to see samples of Melissa's advice. It is particularly enlightening to compare her advice to that of other lawyers who responded to the same question, if you have the time.

Famous Case

Melissa represented a client from the beginning of a divorce though two appellate court cases and up through the Supreme Court of Washington in a very important case called Rideout v. Rideout,. 150 Wn.2d 337, 359, 77 P.3d 1174 (2003). This case, and many other cases Melissa has worked on, have enriched her perspective and the large amount of experience she can draw upon from practicing family law since 1990.

Melissa's background

Melissa has been married since 1987 and has a teenaged son who plans to be a lawyer, heaven help us all. Melissa's family is in Oklahoma and her husband's family is in Malaysia, so they travel a lot. Melissa got her black belt in Shorin Ryu Karate right before starting law school. It helped.

Melissa Denton's credentials

Admitted to the Washington State Bar in 1989, as well as to practice before the US Federal District Court for Western Washington

Law Schools: Juris Doctorate Degree from The University of Oklahoma School of Law in 1985, including studies at The Queen's College, University of Oxford in England

Undergraduate Schools: Bachelor of Arts Degree and some Master's degree coursework from The University of Oklahoma in 1984- major in history and minor in psychology, also classes in electrical engineering and physical therapy and a summer studying Political Science and History at Rewley House, University of Oxford summer program on scholarship

Bar Affiliations: Thurston County (Member, Family Law Section; Former President and Founding Member of Thurston County Young Lawyers) and Washington State (Former Member, Board of Trustees, Young Lawyers Division) Bar Associations

Volunteer Work: Melissa volunteers in several capacities with her church, including past service on the board, service as vice-president, president of the board and other committees and activities. She is also the volunteer attorney advising The Olympia Free Clinic and teaches and mentors other attorneys at the Thurston County Volunteer Legal Clinic.

Ingrid Zerpa, Associate Attorney

Ingrid Zerpa came to work with Ascher & Denton in 2016, just as she received her bar exam results saying that she had passed and was eligible to be sworn into the Washington State Bar Association. Here we are at her swearing in ceremony (at the Grays Harbor County Courthouse):

Ingrid is a member of the following lawyer associations:

Washington State Bar Association (& Family Law Section)
Thurston County Bar Association (& Family Law Section)
Latina/Latino Bar Association of Washington

Educational and Prior Work Background

Ingrid lived in Peru when she was a young child and came to the US with her family to live in San Francisco when she was thirteen years old. She grew up and went to schools in the San Francisco area, including getting her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from San Francisco State University in May of 2010.

Fortunately for us, Ingrid came to Washington to get her Law Degree. She attended Seattle University School of Law, receiving her Juris Doctorate in May of 2015. While at law school, she met the love of her life, Randy, who is now also a lawyer, and they are getting married later in 2017. Because of Randy, Ingrid found that Olympia was the perfect place to settle down.

Ingrid has a background of working very hard to help those in need. In law school, she worked with The Defender Association Dependency Department in Seattle, Northwest Justice Project, Foreclosure Prevention Unit and Foreclosure Consequences Advocacy Team in Seattle and Snohomish County Legal Services in Everett.

After law school, Ingrid worked with the Northwest Justice Project, Driver Relicensing Program in Olympia and The STAR Project (Successful Transition & Reentry) in Walla Walla.

Ingrid has spoken Spanish fluently for her whole life and we are very excited and happy about how fast she has learned so many of the the complex issues and how she has developed the excellent judgment needed to practice family law. It is a wonderful resource for our community that Ingrid Zerpa speaks fluent Spanish and can provide family law services to Spanish speaking clients in Thurston County.

In her free time

Ingrid enjoys camping and hiking at her favorite place, the Columbia River Gorge. She loves hosting game night and is very proud of her trivial pursuit collection, 20 editions to be precise! Ingrid is also the reigning Champion for the video games “Street Fighter X Tekken" in her social circle. Her friends keep aiming and failing to take the coveted prize.