Picture of John W. Merriam

John W. Merriam

Download VCard

Main: 206.729.5252
Fax: 206.729.1012
Toll Free: 877.800.1007

Westwall Building Fishermen's Terminal
4005 20th Avenue West Suite 110
Seattle, Washington 98199


linked In

John Merriam worked his way through college and law school by serving as an unlicensed seaman in the U.S. merchant marine over the course of 12 years. He worked aboard 17 freighters and tankers in all departments—deck, engine and steward—in 12 different job classifications. John’s law school tuition was paid with a scholarship from the Seafarers International Union.

Before and during the time he was shipping out and going to school, John had 19 other full-time jobs in eight states ranging from carpenter to cab driver, from roustabout in the oil fields of New Mexico to factory hand on a production line. John was a downhill ski instructor on weekends, during most winters for 20 years.

John passed the bar in 1982 and joined a small firm—first as associate and then as partner, over the course of 13 years. The firm was a general practice handling a all manner of cases, with an emphasis on maritime personal injury.

In 1996 John started his own firm, with practice restricted to the representation of maritime claimants for wages and injury. Shortly thereafter he started working together on maritime cases with another sole practitioner, Gordon Webb. John and Gordon continue to work on cases together to this day.

John was Chairman for the Maritime Section of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association (now known as the Washington State Association for Justice), 1993-94. He is now a regular speaker at continuing legal education seminars for maritime personal injury. John has been designated a 2012, 2013, and 2014 Super Lawyer.


J.D., Lewis and Clark College Northwestern School of Law, Portland, Oregon, 1982

B.A., University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 1978
Major: Political Science

Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice

Washington, 1982
U.S. District Court Western District of Washington, 1983
U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 1987
U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1983

Professional & Bar Association Memberships

WSTLA Maritime Section nka Wash. State Assoc. for Justice)
Member Since: 1985
Chairman: 1993-94

Public Justice Foundation
Member Since: 2000

American Association for Justice
Member Since: 1990

Wash. State Bar Association
Member Since: 1982

King County Bar Association
Member Since: 1982

Published Works

Aurora, Trafford Publishing, 2008

The Status of Maintenance (for seamen) and Child Support in Washington After Aguilera v. F/T Alaska Juris, 2008 A.M.C. 1845, 535 F.3d 1007 (9th Cir. 2009), Trial News, October, 2009

Millions for Defense but Not One Dime for Tribute, Trial News, March, 2008

Enhanced Injury Doctrine Adopted Into the General Maritime Law, Trial News, June, 2003

Do Seamen and Fishermen Injured in the Service of the Ship Have a Right to Medical Care For Life?, Trial News, January, 1994

Classes / Seminars

Speaker - Maritime Personal Injury in Washington, Lorman Educational Services, 2009

Speaker - Maritime Personal Injury in Washington, Lorman Educational Services, 2008

Honors and Awards

Law School Tuition Scholarship - Seafarers' International Union, 1978 - 1982

Past Employment Positions

U.S. Merchant Marine, Various - Unlicensed, 1970 - 1982

Washington State Association for Justice King County Bar Association Maritime Law Association of the United States Washington State Bar Association Florida Justice Association