James Almond Merritt,
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James Almond Merritt,
  • September 25, 1956 - July 12, 2017
  • North Carolina

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James Merritt, 60

James "Jim" Almond Merritt, Jr. passed away at his home in Raleigh on July 12, 2017. Born September 25, 1956 in Charleston, South Carolina, he was the son of Elizabeth "Libby" Lackey Merritt and the late James Almond Merritt, Sr. Jim is survived by his wife Dana Young Merritt and their children, Zachary, Riley, Connor, Samuel and Carson Merritt. Jim is also survived by a granddaughter, Ella Merritt-Watson of Aiken, South Carolina, a brother, Shayne Merritt (Barbara) of Indianapolis, Indiana and nieces Ella, Ria and Oona Merritt.

Jim was a graduate of First Baptist School in Charleston and Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Jim obtained a law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1982 where he was a member of the Society of the Whig and Robe and the South Carolina Law Review. After earning his law degree, Jim clerked for the Honorable Charles E. Simmons, Jr. Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of South Carolina. Jim also served as a speech writer for South Carolina Governor Richard Riley.

A gifted trial attorney, Jim began his career trying difficult and complex cases for firms in the Columbia, South Carolina area. As a partner at the firm, Berry, Quackenbush and Stuart (BQS), Jim took over management responsibilities of the firm's Pre-Paid Legal division, which provided legal services for middle class citizens in South Carolina. Jim came to love working in this nontraditional legal model which provided access to justice for those who normally would be unable to afford an attorney. He was honored to be able to make a difference in people's lives, especially children and their parents who needed help but did not have the resources to hire an attorney.

Jim oversaw the firm's expansion and opening of an office when BQS received the contract to provide legal services to Pre-Paid members in Tennessee. In 2006, Jim left BQS to join a North Carolina firm and became the managing partner of Merritt-Webb. a large regional law firm handling the problems of tens of thousands of Legal Shield (formerly Pre-Paid Legal) members in NC, SC and TN. There, Jim engineered many innovative changes using the economies of scale to improve the services the firm provided to its many clients. Jim took the NC Bar exam and moved his practice to North Carolina in 2007, where he continued to manage and supervise all aspects of the firm's Legal Shield division, while also providing general law firm management and litigating personal injury, medical malpractice, and trucking accident cases. Jim was a talented speaker and was frequently invited to speak at local, regional, state and national events for Legal Shield associates.

Jim's life was forever changed when he met Dana Young in 1988. Four years later he won his biggest case when Dana accepted his hand in marriage. Throughout their 25 years of marriage, Jim was a devoted husband and father to their five children.

Jim loved children and had a gentle heart for those in need. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Therapy Place, 3620 Covenant Road, Columbia, SC 29204 and the Ronald McDonald, Chapel Hill, 101 Old Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27517c 101.
Arrangements under the direction of Mitchell Funeral Home at Raleigh Memorial Park, Raleigh, NC.