Veteran Charlotte attorney Mark Merritt has been named vice chancellor and general counsel at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He will begin his appointment Sept. 6.
Currently a partner at the Charlotte law firm Robinson Bradshaw, Merritt was chosen after an extensive nationwide search, led by Felicia Washington, UNC-Chapel Hill’s vice chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement. The UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees approved the appointment.
“I am extremely pleased to have one of the best attorneys in North Carolina joining the UNC-Chapel Hill leadership team. Mark Merritt’s legal expertise and well-regarded counsel are only surpassed by his love and passion for Carolina,” said Chancellor Carol Folt. “He is well-prepared to help us lead the University.”
Merritt is currently president-elect of the North Carolina State Bar and is a well-decorated trial attorney. His many accolades include being named to the Woodward/White, Inc. “The Best Lawyers in America” list, selection by Business North Carolina for the publication’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame, earning the 2012 the North Carolina Bar Association’s H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award and being named as a Fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Society of Barristers.
Merritt succeeds David Parker, who has served as interim general counsel since January 2015 and will continue in his interim capacity until Merritt assumes the helm. Parker is retiring after 22 years of service in various legal capacities at the University.
Serving as UNC-Chapel Hill’s chief legal officer, Merritt will provide legal advice and counsel to the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, the administration, faculty, and staff on legal matters involving or affecting the institution, as well as direct outside counsel on all cases and issues. Other duties will include analyzing laws, regulations, proposed legislation and policies to assess their possible impact. Keeping the campus community informed about legal risks and their management will be among other priorities. Merritt will serve as a liaison with the Office of the President of the University of North Carolina system, the state Attorney General’s Office and other authorities on legal issues.
Merritt has strong ties to the University. A Morehead Scholar (now Morehead-Cain), he graduated with a degree in Economics and Political Science in 1979 and has served as a member of the Morehead-Cain Scholarship Central Selection Committee. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia, where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review. His wife and two children are UNC alumni and his youngest child is a current student.
Merritt has spent the last 33 years at Robinson Bradshaw, where he serves as one of the firm’s top litigators. He covers a broad range of business-related litigation including antitrust, complex, class action, and shareholder litigation.
“I am honored and humbled by this selection to serve the University. Chancellor Folt is a dynamic chancellor who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and assembled an incredible team,” Merritt said. “I look forward to joining that team and working with her and the Board of Trustees to help make a great university even better.”