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About me

John Merriam was an unlicensed seaman in the U. S. merchant marine for 12 years before becoming a lawyer, working his way through college and law school. He served aboard 17 freighters and tankers in 12 different job classifications for the deck, engine and steward departments.

    Other employment included 19 full-time jobs in eight states ranging from carpenter to cab driver, from roustabout in the oil fields to factory hand on the line. John paid law school tuition with a scholarship from the Seafarers International Union.

    Passing the bar in 1982, John practiced with a small firm through 1995 --- first as associate, then as partner. Cases handled ran the gamut of general practice with an emphasis on maritime personal injury.

    In 1993-94 John was the Chairman of the Maritime Section for the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association.

Starting his own firm in 1996, John now restricts his practice to representing seamen on wage and injury claims.


Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Maritime: 100%

Attorney endorsements

6 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • No photo

    I endorse this lawyer's work. John is a tireless and fearless advocate of mariners with injury and wage claims. He is the lawyer responsible for convincing the Washington Supreme Court that a manifestly inadequate maintenance rate set forth in a collective bargaining agreement is unenforceable.


    Russell Williams Admiralty & Maritime Attorney
    Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter

  • Shane C Carew

    I have had cases with John and against John Merriam. He has the very highest ethical standards. I would hope law students would aspire to be like John Merriam. He is not afraid to make novel arguments for his clients, take them up on appeal, and challenge the system where he sees it is unfair. He has overcome long odds to make new law for the benefit of all Jones Act seaman. He is not intimidated by well funded insurance defense firms. But he is not unreasonable, and counsels his clients well when in negotiations.


    Shane Carew Litigation Attorney
    Relationship: Worked together on matter

Contact info

John W. Merriam

4005 20th Avenue West
Suite 110
Seattle, WA, 98199-1290


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
AttorneyMerriam Webb2014 - Present
OwnerSolo Practice1996 - 2014
Association namePosition nameDuration
Washington State Trial Lawyers AssociationChairman1993 - 1994
King County Bar AssociationMemberN/A
Washington State Bar AssociationMemberN/A
Washington State Trial Lawyers AssociationMemberN/A
Trial Lawyers for Public JusticeMemberN/A
Publication nameTitleDate
Trial NewsDon’t Concede the First and Last Days of the Maintenance Obligation2014
Trial NewsAre Unearned Wages and Maintenance Payable Beyond Maximum Cure?2014
Trial NewsWhen Setting Rates of Maintenance for Seamen with a House and Family, Should the Entire Mortgage Payment be Taken Into Account?2014
Trial NewsIs Employment of Fishermen ‘At Will‘ or is Just Cause Required for Discharge?2014
Trafford PublishingAurora2008
Washington State Trial Lawyers AssociationDo Seamen and Fishermen Injured in the Service of the Ship Have a Right to Medical Care for Life?1994
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Lewis & Clark Law SchoolLawJD - Juris Doctor1982
University of WashingtonN/ABA - Bachelor of Arts1978
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Annual SeminarMaritime Personal Injury in Washington2012
Annual SeminarMaritime Personal Injury in Washington2011
Annual SeminarMaritime Personal Injury in Washington2009
Annual SeminarMaritime Personal Injury in Washington2008