Christopher J. Merken focuses his practice on business disputes, complex commercial litigation, derivative litigation, class actions, and appellate matters. He has litigated cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts across the country. He has also represented clients in internal investigations and government investigations involving the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Mr. Merken’s experience includes representing corporations, directors, and officers in litigation involving derivative claims, board mismanagement, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and labor and employment disputes. He has experience drafting dispositive motions and appellate briefs.

In his pro bono practice, Mr. Merken has been on the front lines of high-impact cases involving voting rights. He has litigated, or is litigating, voting-rights actions in the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and the Superior Court of Georgia (Cobb County). He is also representing a class of 16,000 U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps veterans in a complex class action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the Navy’s practice of improperly denying them certain disability retirement benefits.

Before joining Dechert, Mr. Merken clerked for the Honorable Jane R. Roth of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Honorable Madeline H. Haikala of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. He also externed for the Honorable Mark A. Kearney of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Mr. Merken was a Dechert summer associate in 2019.

Mr. Merken frequently writes on issues related to federal practice and serves as a contributor to the Pennsylvania Bar Association Federal Practice Committee’s quarterly newsletter. Mr. Merken was an adjunct professor at Delaware Law School and often judges moot court and mock trial competitions. He also mentors undergraduates, law students, and recent law school graduates as they prepare to enter the legal profession.

  • Litigation and Investigations

    • Defending a portfolio company of private equity firm against breach of contract and earnout claims in the Delaware Court of Chancery and the Indiana Commercial Court by seller of business.
    • Representing a financial technology company in a breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and trade secrets action in the Southern District of New York arising out of former executive's alleged misconduct.
    • Defending a staffing company and its CEO in a Fair Labor Standards Act action in the Eastern District of New York brought by the U.S. Department of Labor.
    • Representing a real estate lender in litigation in the Southern District of New York arising out of lender's disposition of collateral under the U.C.C. and seeking over $86 million in damages.
    • Part of team that defended a corporation and its principals in a criminal antitrust prosecution by the DOJ Antitrust Division in the Northern District of Illinois.
    • Represented employees of a cryptocurrency company in investigations by the SEC and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
    • Represented an ETF investment adviser in potential derivative litigation.

    Business Advice

    • Advise a global capital market company on litigation risk as initial purchaser, in connection with a US $400 million 144A private auto loan securitization.
    • Advising Energy Harbor Corp. in connection with its acquisition by Vistra Corp.
    • The State of Criminal Justice 2023 - Deputy Editor, ABA Criminal Justice Section (2023)
    • Toward a Presumptive Admission of Medical Records Under Federal Rule of Evidence 803(4) Boston College Law Review – Vol. 64, Issue 3 – (March 2023)
    • Damn the Torpedoes! An Unprincipled, Incorrect, and Lonely Approach to Compassionate Release Cardozo Law Review – Vol. 44, Issue 2 – (December 2022)
    • Incentivize Law Students’ Pro Bono Service: Explain the Practice BenefitsAt Issue (2020)
    • Recognizing Hozanna-Tabor’s Limited Scope and Inapplicability to Clergy Sex Abuse LitigationArkansas Law Notes (2020)
    • A Tight Labor Market: Could Reentering Citizens Fill the Gap?Houston Law Review – Off the Record (2020)
    • Protecting Aging Inmates from Discrimination: An Approach to Rehabilitative DignityDenver Law Review Forum (2019)
    • Not Just Going Private: In re MFW Shareholder Litigation’s Evolution and Expansion Should Result in a Uniform Standard of Review in all Conflicted Controller TransactionsWestern State Law Review (2019)
    • A Not So Sweet Ending: Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Battle for Freedom of ExpressionColumbia University Global Freedom of Expression (2018)
    • Every Move You Make: SCOTUS Says Warrant Needed for Cell-Site Location DataBusiness Law Today (2018)
    • Admissibility of Medical Statements and Records – First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Continuing Judicial Education Program, Philadelphia, PA (March 7, 2023)
    • American Bar Association
      • Section on Litigation
      • Law Practice Division
      • Young Lawyers Division
    • Pennsylvania Bar Association
      • Appellate Advocacy Committee
      • Civil Litigation Section
      • Civility in the Profession Committee
      • Federal Practice Committee
        • Newsletter Subcommittee
      • Large Law Firm Committee
      • Legal Services to the Public Committee
      • Young Lawyers Division
    • Villanova Law J. Willard O’Brien American Inn of Court - Associate
    • University of Delaware HenLaw Alumni Society - Vice President and Member, Board of Directors
    • The Legal Mentor Network - Philadelphia Regional Chair
    • American Mensa
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Honorable Jane R. Roth
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Honorable Madeline H. Haikala