Weitz & Luxenberg partner Ellen Relkin remains as busy as ever this November, with two more speaking engagements lined up. The first is George Washington…Read More
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I’ve always wanted to use my legal career as an attorney to be someone who stands up for people who have been wronged, either through criminal acts or a corporation’s negligence. Weitz & Luxenberg has a strong reputation for helping people and the caliber of attorneys on their teams. Not to mention the overall size of the firm and its resources. I know W&L is a driving force in making a difference in people’s lives — in getting the justice our clients deserve. I’m so glad to be a part of it all.
Sara Merrill has joined Weitz & Luxenberg’s experienced team of mesothelioma and asbestos trial litigators. “Coming to New York and being given the opportunity to live my dream — working as a plaintiffs’ attorney for a recognized law firm — is such an incredible privilege,” says Ms. Merrill.
“The work I am doing here is similar to the work I did at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office in Florida,” Ms. Merrill explains. “While there, I worked with victims of criminal acts. Here, I work with clients who developed mesothelioma, lung cancer — and other asbestos exposure diseases — because corporations did not safeguard your health. The corporations exposed our clients to the deadly carcinogen asbestos.
“In both types of cases, people have been severely wronged by someone else’s actions or negligence. Our clients are our cases. Your accounts of events, your lives, your memories, your specific instances of exposure to asbestos are the evidence we use to hold offending corporations accountable,” Ms. Merrill adds.
“The first meeting with our client sets the stage for everything else that follows,” Ms. Merrill points out. “In that initial meeting, I introduce myself and make sure you feel comfortable talking with me. I try to gain your trust.
“Another particularly important part is providing you with an overview of the legal process. I need to explain everything in a way you can understand, so you know what to expect,” Ms. Merrill adds.
“Connecting with each and every client is how the case begins,” Ms. Merrill continues. “You need to feel confident in my abilities and know that I will do everything I can to help, support, and encourage you. Particularly during your testimony, which can feel like a really daunting process.”
For over three and one-half years, Ms. Merrill served as Assistant State Attorney for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office in Miami, Florida. She took 10 cases to jury trial verdict and litigated dozens of bench trials, many of them ended in verdicts in her client’s favor.
Basically, Ms. Merrill oversaw her own caseload of victims and the crimes committed against them all the way through the legal process. She conducted and defended depositions, motion arguments, jury and bench trials, appellate briefs and arguments, and written pleadings.
“Every successful case starts with the relationship I develop with my client,” Ms. Merrill explains. “Sometimes the whole case comes down to you and your account of events. You need to know I’m completely on your side. It’s up to me to support you, guide you throughout the legal process, and then later connect with jurors and the judge in a courtroom.”
As an experienced trial attorney, Ms. Merrill has handled everything from child abuse cases to first- and second-degree felonies. Two of her most serious cases involved narcotics and an armed robbery. In both cases, Ms. Merrill was able to successfully serve justice throughout the process and come out with a trial win.
The narcotics case was particularly complex because the man charged with the crime was dealing fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin. He was dealing out of his home, where he lived with several children and his girlfriend. The State Attorney’s Office charged him with 19 counts. All of them ended in a judgment against the drug dealer — a big win for Ms. Merrill.
She also secured a verdict against a man charged with armed robbery. What made this case a particularly important success is the prosecutors had very little evidence to work with. Ms. Merrill closely worked with the victim throughout the legal process. In the end, the victim’s account of events and Ms. Merrill’s trial expertise won the jurors over.
Ms. Merrill is licensed to practice law in New York and Florida. She earned her J.D. from St. Thomas University’s School of Law in Miami Gardens, Florida, and her B.S. from Florida State University in Tallahassee.
Outside the office, Ms. Merrill loves traveling. She is planning on trying New York City’s many restaurants and getting exposed to its diverse cultures.
She also loves the fact you can find fabulous pizza everywhere. In addition, she is looking forward to attending some of the city’s theater productions.
Sara Merrill will be happy to review your case.