Attorney - Michelle A. Tarnelli

Michelle A. Tarnelli

After growing up in Utica, New York, and living in New York City and Pittsburgh, Michelle moved to Vermont in 2009. She concentrates in all areas of adoption, assisted reproductive technology (ART), and family law, including appeals to the Vermont Supreme Court. Whenever possible, Michelle believes in a collaborative approach to her practice, and in aligning her clients’ goals and values with effective advocacy.

Michelle is a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA), a highly selective international and credentialed organization of experienced family formation attorneys, dedicated to the competent and ethical practice of assisted reproduction and adoption law.

In addition to her adoption, assisted reproduction, and family law practice, Michelle volunteers her time representing low-income clients in adult involuntary guardianships through the Vermont Bar Association Legal Assistance Project. She has also volunteered as an attorney for children in family court proceedings and for birth parents in adoption-related termination of parental rights proceedings in probate court. Michelle was an editor of the Vermont Bar Association’s Vermont Family Law Practice Manual and a member on the alimony subcommittee of the Vermont Family Division Oversight Committee. She also speaks at conferences and continuing legal education seminars on topics including adoption law.

Michelle graduated cum laude from Fordham University and magna cum laude from Vermont Law School. She excelled in law school as a Notes Editor for the Vermont Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Advisory Board (MCAB), and received numerous academic excellence awards. She was also selected for the Schweitzer Fellowship Program, a program comprised of a select few law students and medical students committed to serving and empowering vulnerable communities and to promoting positive change.

When not practicing law, Michelle enjoys aerial fitness, Pilates and running, which includes training each year for the Boilermaker 15K race in her hometown of Utica. She also enjoys traveling, studying history and culture, learning Italian, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Attorney - Michelle A. Tarnelli


  • Vermont Law School, J.D., magna cum laude
  • Fordham University. B.A., cum laude

Bar Admission

  • State of Vermont
  • U.S. District Court, District of Vermont

Memberships, Affiliations, and Publications

  • Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) Fellow
  • American Bar Association (ABA)
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)
  • Chittenden County Bar Association (CCBA)
  • RESOLVE New England
  • Society for Ethics in Egg Donation and Surrogacy (SEEDS)
  • Vermont Bar Association (VBA)

Michelle A. Tarnelli, Note, Joint Custody Presumption in Vermont: A Proposal for Co-Parenting, 36 Vt. L.R. 1015 (2012)