Phelps Dunbar partner LaToya C. Merritt was recently named a winner of the “2010 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40” award. The award, which is presented by IMPACT and the National Bar Association (NBA), recognizes talented individuals age 40 and under within the African American legal community who have achieved prominence and distinction.
Merritt and the other recipients were selected based on their achievements, innovation, vision, leadership and legal community involvement.
Merritt practices in the labor and employment group in the Jackson office. Her practice includes the areas of civil rights and Title VII as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Merritt has assisted public and private entities throughout the state in matters involving race, sex, sexual/workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation claims. She provides management and/or corporate counsel advice regarding performance evaluation/appraisal systems, development of employment policies and practices, employee handbooks and municipal employment liability. Merritt also conducts diversity training and educational programs for numerous clients and companies throughout the region.
Merritt received her J.D., cum laude, in 2000 from North Carolina Central University, where she was the senior editor of the North Carolina Central Law Journal, and she received her B.A. in mass communication: public relations, magna cum laude, from Grambling State University in 1997.
Prior to joining the firm, she clerked with the Honorable William J. Haynes Jr. of the United States District Court, Middle District of Tennessee.
Merritt is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Greater Leadership Jackson (2007-present), Mississippi Women Lawyers’ Association (president: 2006-2007; vice president and secretary/treasurer: 2004-2006) and Young Lawyers’ Division of the Mississippi Bar Association (chair of the Diversity in the Law Committee: 2002-2004). She was also an associate of the Charles Clark Chapter of the American Inns of Court and a 2004 graduate from Leadership Jackson. She is admitted to practice in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and in the U.S. District Court, Southern and Northern Districts of Mississippi.