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Gregory Merz Named a Minnesota Attorney of the Year

2/18/2021

MINNEAPOLIS (Feb. 18, 2021) — Minnesota Lawyer recently recognized Lathrop GPM Partner Gregory R. Merz as an Attorney of the Year for 2020. Merz was honored for obtaining a precedent-setting ruling before the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Dec. 1, 2020.

On behalf of an individual pro bono client and the nonprofit organization Youthprise, Merz successfully argued in Hayat Muse v. Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development that an unemployment judge ruled incorrectly when stating that Minnesota high school students were ineligible to receive pandemic unemployment assistance. Overturning the administrative decision by DEED made millions of dollars in federal financial assistance available to thousands of high school students and low-income families that depend on their teenagers’ wages to help make ends meet. This significant appellate victory added to Merz’ long-standing record of excellence in both litigation, pro bono and appellate matters.

The legal victory and Merz’ role in it was featured in the news, including in Minnesota’s award-winning Star Tribune and the Monticello Times newspapers. In addition, Youthprise released a public statement thanking Merz and Lathrop GPM for their pro bono efforts on behalf of Minnesota high school students. More on this pro bono victory is available in this Dec. 8, 2020 firm news article, “Appellate Victory Frees Millions in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for Minnesota Students.”

A member of the firm’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice Group, Merz represents individuals and companies in litigation matters covering a variety of subject matters, including telecommunications, agribusiness, administrative law, health and human services, employment, breach of contract, antitrust, franchise and distribution, and professional licensing matters.

Merz has been recognized by the Minnesota State Bar Association as a “North Star Lawyer” for six consecutive years. This honor recognizes attorneys who dedicate a significant amount of hours in pro bono legal services to low-income individuals in the state of Minnesota. Merz also received the Hennepin County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award for Distinguished Service in 2005 and the Hennepin County Bar Association Diversity Award in 2017.