Melinda A. Agsten

Biography

Melinda has spent four decades helping health care, educational, charitable, and other tax-exempt organizations address legal challenges so they can focus on achieving their missions.

As Chair of Wiggin and Dana's Tax Exempt Organizations Practice Group and immediate past Chair of the firm's Health Care Department, Melinda advises clients on a range of corporate, governance, federal and state tax-exemption, and regulatory matters. 

Charitable and tax-exempt organizations, ranging from grassroots local charities to those with billion-dollar budgets, seek Melinda’s counsel about the investment and use of endowment and other charitable funds, charitable solicitation, obtaining judicial modification of unworkable or obsolete restrictions, and reviews and investigations by state regulatory entities such as the Attorney General. 

Melinda also advises health care organizations, including hospitals, integrated systems, clinics, home health care agencies, and other providers, on their corporate, patient, regulatory, and operating matters. She has extensive experience with charity care issues and policies, bed funds, and related payment and billing issues.

Melinda assists with the creation of new tax-exempt organizations and helps clients determine the best organizational and governance structure to achieve their goals. She is viewed as particularly adept at helping boards of directors of nonprofit organizations with governance matters and revising their structures and bylaws to better address contemporary needs. She also advises complex systems about corporate structure and design.

Melinda is a frequent lecturer on health care, exemption issues, and governance. She was a clinical visiting lecturer in law at Yale Law School from 2012 to 2016 and taught in its Nonprofit Organizations Clinic. She has been named by The Best Lawyers in America in the category Best Health Care Lawyers every year from the category’s inception. She has also been recognized by Chambers in the category of health care lawyers.

Melinda is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a Life Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, past President of the Connecticut Health Lawyers Association, and a member of the American and Connecticut Bar Associations, the ABA's Committee on Exempt Organizations of the Section of Taxation, and the American Health Lawyers Association.

Melinda is deeply committed to pro bono service. She currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame and is the Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors of The Foote School, an independent school in New Haven. She was a member of the State Tax Panel appointed by the Connecticut Legislature in 2014 to make policy recommendations about Connecticut taxes. She is a past Director of the Connecticut Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and served on the Board of Finance of the City of New Haven and on its Financial Review and Audit Commission.

Melinda received her J.D. from Vanderbilt University, where she was an associate editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review. She graduated with an A.B. magna cum laude from Duke University.

Education

  • Vanderbilt University  (J.D.)
    • Associate Editor, Vanderbilt Law Review
  • Duke University  (A.B.)
    • magna cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
    • Exempt Organizations Committee
    • Taxation and Health Law Sections
  • American Bar Foundation
    • Fellow
  • American Health Lawyers Association
  • Connecticut Bar Association, Health Law Section
  • Connecticut Bar Foundation
  • Connecticut Health Lawyers Association