Professor of Law, Emeritus


J.D., University of Illinois, College of Law
M.A., University of Virginia
B.A., University of Illinois, Chicago


Torts I and II


Professor Merkel is published in a remarkably wide range of subjects. His scholarship, along with his extensive experience as a practicing attorney, inform his classroom teaching.

Professor Merkel came to Western State from the University of Virginia School of Law where he co-directed the Legal Research and Writing Program for several years. Earlier he served as managing attorney for the Georgia Legal Services Program, Savannah Regional Office. In this capacity, he directed a large attorney and paralegal staff in providing legal assistance to indigents in an eight-county area in southeast Georgia. In law school, he served as a research assistant for the National Clearinghouse for Criminal Justice

Planning and Architecture and as managing editor of the Recent Decisions section of the Illinois Bar Journal.

Professor Merkel has tried cases in state and federal courts and has represented clients before appellate courts in California and Georgia. His writings have been cited in appellate court briefs and decisions.


  • “California’s Role in the Mid-Twentieth Century Controversy over Pain and Suffering Damages: The NACCA, Melvin Belli, and the Crusade for “The Adequate Award”,” 5 California Legal History 287 (2010).
  • “Pain and Suffering Damages at Mid-Twentieth Century: A Retrospective View of the Problem and the Legal Academy’s First Responses,” 34 Capital University Law Review 545 (2006).
  • “Physicians Policing Physicians: The Development of Medical Staff Peer Review Law at California Hospitals,” 38 University of San Francisco Law Review 301 (2004).
  • “Railroad Consolidation and Late 19th Century Federalism,” 11 Western Legal History 215 (1998).
  • “Going National: The Life Insurance Industry’s Campaign for Federal Regulation after the Civil War,” 65 Business History Review 528 (1991).
  • “At the Crossroads of Reform: The First Fifty Years of American Legal Aid, 1876-1926,” 27 Houston Law Review 1 (1990).
  • “The Origins of an Expanded Federal Question Jurisdiction,” 58 Business History Review 336 (1984).
  • “Tax Reform with a Political View: The Hyattsville Single Tax Experiment in the Maryland Courts,” 79 Maryland Historical Magazine 145 (1984).
  • “Case Note, Illinois Innkeeper Lien Laws Violate Due Process,” 61 Illinois Bar Journal 262 (1973).


  • Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States (2008). (Two attributed submissions.)
  • Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties (2006). (Four attributed submissions.)
  • Oxford Companion Guide to the Supreme Court (1992). (Four attributed submissions.)
  • Prosecution Planning Concepts (1976) (Principal author of monograph.)
  • The Grand Jury Complex (1976) (Principal author of monograph.)


  • Review of The Supreme Court under Earl Warren, by Michael R. Belknap, 19 Western Legal History 150 (2006).
  • Review of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: Law and the Inner Self, by G.E. White, 2 Western State Consumer Law Journal 89 (1993).
  • Review of Federal Justice in California: The Court of Ogden Hoffman, 1851-1891, by Christian G. Fritz, 5 Western Legal History 253 (1992).
  • Review of Enterprise and American Law, 1836-1937, by Herbert Hovenkamp, 1 Western State Consumer Law Journal 119 (1992).
  • Review of The Guardian Life Insurance Company, 1860-1920, by Anita Rapone, Business History Review (1991).
  • Review of Legal Malpractice (3d ed.), by Mallen and Smith, 18 Western State Law Review 513 (1990).
  • Review of John Marshall’s Achievement, edited by Thomas Shevory, 17 Western State Law Review 517 (1990).
  • Review of In Pursuit of Justice, by Joseph R. Grodin, 17 Western State Law Review 239 (1989).
  • Review of A Great and Shining Road, by John Hoyt Williams, Business History Review (Fall, 1989).
  • Review of Two Jewish Justices, by Robert A. Burt, 16 Western State Law Review 337 (1989).
  • Review of Salmon P. Chase: A Life in Politics, by Frederick J. Blue, 16 Western State Law Review (1988).
  • Review of The Morgans: Private International Bankers, by Vincent P. Carosso, Virginia Quarterly Review (Winter, 1988).
  • Review of The Life and Legend of Jay Gould, by Maury Klein, Virginia Quarterly Review (Spring, 1987).
  • Review of Railroads, Reconstruction and the Gospel of Prosperity, by Mark W. Summers, The Public Historian (Fall, 1986).
  • Review of Louis D. Brandeis, Justice for the People, by Phillipa Strum, Virginia Quarterly Review (Spring, 1986).