John Merriam was an unlicensed seaman in the U. S. merchant marine for 12 years before becoming a lawyer, working his way through college and law school. He served aboard 17 freighters and tankers in 12 different job classifications for the deck, engine and steward departments.
Other employment included 19 full-time jobs in eight states ranging from carpenter to cab driver, from roustabout in the oil fields to factory hand on the line. John paid law school tuition with a scholarship from the Seafarers International Union.
In 1993-94 John was the Chairman of the Maritime Section for the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association. Starting his own firm in 1996, John now restricts his practice to representing seamen and passengers on wage and injury claims.