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Deborah J. Merritt

John Deaver Drinko-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law; Courtesy Professor of Sociology; Courtesy Professor of Public Policy and Management, and Associate Faculty Member in Women's Studies
Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210

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  • B.A., Harvard University, History, 1977 (summa cum laude)
  • J.D., Columbia University Law School, 1980 (James Kent Scholar, Robert Noxon Tappan Prize, Managing Editor of the Columbia Law Review)


Professor Merritt has been a law teacher for thirty years. She has a national reputation as a legal scholar and is a leading voice on trends in legal education. During the last five years, she has won five different teaching awards from her law school and university. The classes of 2010 and 2011 both chose Merritt as their "Outstanding Professor." In 2011, the National Jurist named Merritt one of 23 law profs to take before you die.

After graduating from Columbia Law School, Professor Merritt clerked for Judge (now Justice) Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court of the United States. She then practiced civil litigation in Atlanta, Georgia, and joined the University of Illinois law faculty in 1985. She accepted the Drinko Chair at Ohio State's Moritz College of Law in 1995.

Professor Merritt teaches Evidence, a Criminal Defense Clinic, a Prosecution Clinic, and a seminar on the Business of Law. She is well known for her scholarship on a wide range of public policy issues.

Merritt drew upon her knowledge of psychology and learning theory to coauthor the Learning Evidence text. The book builds on cognitive science research to offer students the best mix of explanatory text, examples, and analyses.

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