Raised on a cattle and wheat farm in Southwest Kansas, Eric Melgren was in the first generation of his family to attend college, and is the only lawyer in his family. He earned his undergraduate degree from Wichita State University, where he served as student body president. After college, he worked for a few years in business management before attending law school at Washburn University, where he was a member of the Law Review. He served as a law clerk for Judge Frank Theis from 1985 to 1987. For 15 years, 10 as a partner, he was with the Wichita firm of Foulston & Siefkin where his practice focused on tax and business matters. He was active in the community, including serving as Chairman of the Board of the United Way of the Plains, Chairman of Leadership Wichita, and President of the Wichita State University Alumni Association. In March 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Melgren United States Attorney for the District of Kansas. He served in that position until September 2008, when the U. S. Senate confirmed President Bush's nomination of Melgren to the U.S. District Court in Kansas.