Attorney Merry Harrison joined the Kennedy Hodges Law team in August 2016. Before taking the job with Kennedy Hodges, LLP, Merry used her skills on a defense litigation team representing oil and gas companies and later as an attorney at a medical malpractice boutique firm working on nursing home abuse and birth injury cases. Merry began her law career after graduating magna cum laude from Boston College Law School, where she was a member of the Boston College Law Review and the National Moot Court Team.
Now, she works as a plaintiff’s attorney for those hurt by the oil and gas industries. “Right now,” Merry says, “I’m writing brief for employees of these companies who weren’t paid overtime while working long hours in temperatures from minus 30 to 90 degrees. I’m also working on two class action cases involving hundreds of people who were paid improperly.” Merry goes on to say that it’s rewarding when the firm litigates against an industry that uses unfair pay practices and then sees that industry change its methods. “We’re policy makers,” Merry says. “We choose a case and a practice that’s unfair and use the framework of the law to make companies comply with the law.”
Merry believes her background in debate and experience on her college speech team, where she was four times national champion, has helped her as an attorney. “I think my best assets are knowing how to approach an argument, get at the truth, and communicate it. I have a background in critiquing spoken language and crafting good speeches, and I understand both the adversarial and persuasive sides of an argument.” She says she likes being able to understand a client’s situation and effectively communicate it within the framework of the law.
As an attorney, Merry says she always wants to be the better litigator and the better person. “I always want to treat clients and adversaries in a way that makes me proud,” she says. Merry feels one of the biggest challenge about being a lawyer is when justice is on your side but the law isn’t. “Sometimes, the law isn’t clear cut in your favor and even if you’re passionate about the case, you have to retain your impartiality enough to evaluate your approach and strategy. It requires a balance of your humanity and reasoning skills.”
A participant in Houston’s Volunteer Prosecutor Program, Merry worked for 20 weeks as a prosecutor for traffic tickets. “As a young attorney, I had 11 jury trials. It was a great way to get involved in the community, meet law enforcement officers, and learn about jury selection.”
When not working at the office, Merry likes to kayak, scuba dive, and skydive with her husband. She especially enjoyed visiting Palau in the Micronesia region. “Sharks are a protected animal there—the entire ocean is protected. It was an awesome experience to see the vibrant kind of sea life we did while scuba diving in Palau.” Merry also has two labradoodles that she says have “great personalities.”