The law firm of Merkel & Cocke is proud to announce that Charles M. Merkel, Jr., has received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mississippi Association for Justice.
Charles M. (Charlie) Merkel, Jr. has been a trial lawyer since 1966 when he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Mississippi School of Law. He was born and raised in Mississippi and attended the University of Mississippi for both his undergraduate and law degrees. After law school, he worked for four years with the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division, trying tax cases in a five state area.
In 1970, Charlie returned to Mississippi, beginning private practice with the firm of Sullivan Dunbar & Smith in Clarksdale, Mississippi. In 1972 he was a founding member of the law firm of Holcomb Dunbar Connell Merkel & Tollison and continued his litigation practice there until 1982 when he formed the Clarksdale firm Merkel & Cocke. While his practice involves primarily civil litigation, he has tried a number of criminal cases as well. He has tried cases in numerous state and federal courts throughout the country, specializing in complex civil litigation and medical malpractice. Charlie’s trials have resulted in multiple jury awards from $1 million to $20 million dollars.
Charlie is a long-time member of the Mississippi Association for Justice and a long-time opponent of tort reform. His partners remember his returning to Mississippi from a firm ski trip to testify against tort reform in the 1980s. He regularly speaks to civic and business groups about the civil justice system and tort reform. He is also a frequent lecturer at seminars for trial attorneys. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, currently serving as the president of the Mississippi Chapter and the American College of Trial Lawyers. Charlie has been repeatedly selected for inclusion in peer review elite litigator lists of legal publications including Best Lawyers in America, Mid South Super Lawyers, and Law Dragons.
From a small town Mississippi practice, Charlie Merkel has earned a reputation as an excellent advocate for his clients, but not only for the large or lucrative case. Sometimes to the consternation of his partners, he is known to take on the cause of anyone needing help, no matter how helpless the case. And once he takes on a case, he is fiercely loyal to his clients and does not seem to have it in him to give up on a client, even if a case goes south, as they sometimes do. Throughout his 44 year career, Charlie has been an untiring representative of the injured or wronged and a true asset to the plaintiffs’ bar.