Third Coast Rewind: Chicago Lawyer Heads North to Defend Pipeline Protestors

Melinda Power works in a storefront law office on Division Street, between the two gateways that demarcate the Puerto Rican community. Many of her everyday clients are members of the Puerto Rican community, for whom she handles criminal defense and basic legal needs such as divorces and wills. But Power is also an active fighter for political prisoners and part of the legal team supporting the defendants at the Dakota Access Pipeline project in North Dakota.

We were curious about how a Chicago community lawyer got involved in the high-profile DAPL project and asked Melinda to tell us about her experiences.

We learned about her long history of involvement in political causes—and she told the story of the time her twin sister was a witness in a political protest trial. Melinda interrogated Margaret . . . and there were many objections.


Melinda Power's Chicago office building.
Melinda Power’s West Town law office. A classic Chicago storefront.
Nancy S Bishop
Nancy S Bishop

Nancy S. Bishop is publisher and Stages editor of Third Coast Review. She’s a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and a 2014 Fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. You can read her personal writing on pop culture at, and follow her on Twitter @nsbishop. She also writes about film, books, art, architecture and design.


  1. I loved it. Great interview Nancy. Great questions and great answers Melinda. Thank you.

  2. Melinda and Margaret wonderful,caring ,passionate about everything they do. So proud of their strength.

  3. Melinda is a treasure and this interview tell us why she is so special. Great work Nancy!

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