We are one of the largest plaintiff law firms in Northern Mississippi as well as the largest in "The Mississippi Delta". For over 20 years, we have handled cases throughout Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas, and have handled cases from California to New York. To read about our case results.
We utilize state of the art technology and extensive research in our trials and trial preparations. We invite you to browse our website and discover the experience and legal services that Merkel & Cocke has to offer.
Charles M. Merkel, Jr.
After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Mississippi School of Law in June 1966, Mr. Merkel accepted an appointment under the U.S. Department of Justice Honors Program and served for 4 years in the tax division of the Department of Justice in a refund trial section trying tax refund cases in the U.S. District Courts over a five state area.
In October 1970, Mr. Merkel returned to his native Mississippi accepting a position with the firm of Sullivan, Dunbar & Smith. In 1973, he was involved in the formation of the firm of Holcomb, Dunbar, Connell & Merkel where he was involved primarily in litigation until the spring of 1982 when Mr. Merkel and Mr. Cocke formed Merkel & Cocke for the purpose of handling complex plantiff's litigation with emphasis in medical malpractice, product liability, toxic torts, drug reactions, brain damage cases, and in general all catastrophic personal injury cases.
Mr. Merkel has received multiple jury awards ranging from 1 million to 20 million dollars and many more million dollar settlements. He is active in trial lawyers activities and is a frequent lecturer on trial technique and advocacy appearing at seminars sponsored by the Mississippi State Bar, Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, American Board of Trial Advocates, and others.
For more than 30 years, Mr. Merkel has personally delivered hundreds of jury presentations in the representation of personal injury victims whose cases involved complex medical and technical injury mechanisms and causation problems.
Managing Partner, since 1982
U.S. Supreme Court, 1969
U.S. Tax Court, 1969
U.S. District Court District of Minnesota, 1970
5th Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. District Court ND, SD, & MS
University of Mississippi School of Law, Oxford, Mississippi, 1966
J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence
Honors: Magna Cum Laude
Honors: 2nd in Class
Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, District of Columbia, 1969
LL.M., Master of Law(s)
University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, 1964
B.A., Bachelor of Arts
Honors: Magna Cum Laude
American Board of Trial Advocates, 1983 - Present Member
Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, 1982 - Present Member
Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 1982 - Present Member
Mississippi Bar Association, 1991 - Present Fellow
Board Directors, Lula Rich Educational Foundation, 1983-1989
American College of Trial Lawyers, Primerus
Phi Delta Phi
John Hartwell Cocke
After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975, Mr. Cocke moved to Clarksdale, MS to begin practicing in a general litigation firm. In 1982, Mr. Cocke and Mr. Merkel left that firm and established Merkel & Cocke, P.A., and since that time the emphasis of Mr. Cocke's practice has progressed more and more toward medical malpractice. At the present time his practice is exclusively devoted to handling medical negligence cases for the plaintiff, either as a result of direct contact by the client or as, more commonly occurs, on referral from other attorneys who are not familiar with the handling of medical negligence cases. Mr. Cocke handles all types of medical negligence cases, but a uniform requirement is that serious injury or death have occurred as a result of the medical mistake.
Mr. Cocke has handled many "brain damaged baby cases", as well as deaths as a result of the failure to treat in the emergency room setting and the premature discharge of patients after surgery, as well as failure to promptly diagnose cancer.
Mr. Cocke has developed a particular interest in the use of modern technology in medical negligence cases and has spoken at seminars on this subject. The Internet has developed into a very useful tool in conducting medical research and communicating with other attorneys handling similar cases via the Internet is also a major help in the handling of medical cases.
U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1975
U.S. District Court Northern District of Mississippi, 1975
U.S. District Court Southern District of Mississippi, 1975
University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1975
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1969
B.A., Bachelor of Arts
Honors: With Distinction
Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, 1992 - Present
Member, Board of Governors
American Bar Association, 1998
Co-chair, Section of Healthcare Law