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Ernest S. Merrill

ERNEST S. MERRILL. In Ernest S. Merrill, Norfolk has one of the studious, well balanced and resourceful lawyers of Virginia, whose talents and abilities have made him one of the conspicuous figures at the bar of Norfolk County, and he represents large and important interests in his professional capacity. He was born in Accomac County, Virginia, on its eastern shore, in 1890, a son of J. T. and Mary (Marshall) Merrill, both members of old families of the Eastern Shore of Virginia for a long period.

Early developing brilliant intellectual faculties, it was decided to train him for a professional career, and he was sent to Washington and Lee University for both his academic and legal education, and he was graduated in 1914 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. That same year Mr. Merrill took up his practice at Norfolk, and continued it with really remarkable success until his entry into the army in the spring of 1917, for service during the World war. He went to the Officers’ Training Camp at Fort Myer, where he was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to duty in the Eightieth, Blue Ridge, Division, with which lie went overseas on May, 1918. The first service of this division in France was with the British troops. In August the division was made a part of the first American army, and participated in the Argonne offensive, in which Mr. Merrill was wounded. After the signing of the armistice the division was sent to Southern France, and there spent the ensuing winter. In the spring Mr. Merrill was returned home and was honorably discharged, with the rank of a first lieutenant, to which he had been promoted after reaching France.

Returning to Norfolk, Mr. Merrill resumed his practice, and has built up a wide and important connection. His courage and professional independence should be recorded as among his characteristic virtues. Ile is, within the limitations, which no self-respecting lawyer can legitimately disregard, absolutely devoted to a client’s cause and indifferent in this regard to all merely personal considerations. His standards and professional conduct are entirely beyond any just criticism; and indeed during his whole career at the bar, in all of these particulars, lie illustrates the best traditions of his profession.

Following the resumption of his practice he conducted a night law school during the fall and winter months, in which a number of the prominent young lawyers of Norfolk received legal training, but has discontinued it on account of pressure of other duties. Mr. Merrill is a married man.