ORAL HISTORY OF OUTSTANDING WOMEN OF SOUTH FLORIDA
As a youngster
With much parental and neighborhood support, Merrilee Ehrlich “organized” a Fair and raised a whole $26. for a charity that she believed otherwise solely relied on children’s once-a-year Halloween efforts to do it’s good works- “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF”.
As a teenager
Merrilee volunteered for the then-fledging project, HeadStart.
While in high school
In New York, Merrilee worked pumping gas at Esso (which later became Exxon) and did a stint flipping burgers at Wetsons, a local hamburger chain.
While attending Boston University
Where she received a Bachelor in Arts degree, “Cum Laude”, Merrilee transported infants home from a daycare center she volunteered at, in the Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts.
Prior to becoming an attorney
Merrilee worked for the New York State Court Administration as a Personnel Analyst in Manhattan- New York City, New York, visiting courthouses throughout the five boroughs and reporting on how things might run more efficiently.
Merrilee also worked with heroin addicts and ex-convicts on welfare in the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Fort Greene neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York, and in “Needle Park” in Manhattan, through a program of the Ford Foundation.
At night, Merrilee attended a Masters program in Criminal Justice and Police Science at John Jay College.
Merrilee Ehrlich has an extensive formal education that includes:
- A Bachelor of Arts, degree “Cum Laude”, in Sociology; from Boston University, 1972;
- Oxford University, in England;
- “Juris Doctorate” degree, 1979, from Nova University;
- And many years of continuing Legal and Mediation education, thereafter.
While in law school at Nova University, in Davie, Florida, (where Merrilee received her “Juris Doctorate” degree, in 1979) she selected an assignment that would give her the opportunity to visit several of our local prisons and speak with corrections officers and inmates there. And, as was permitted in those days, Merrilee rode with Ft. Lauderdale Police Department uniformed officers in their marked police units, during their night shifts, on more than one occasion. Why? Merrilee wanted to truly understand, as fully as possible, all aspects of the system she had chosen to work in, the criminal justice system.
Merrilee Ehrlich has been admitted to practice before:
- The United States Supreme Court, 1988
- The U.S. Fifth District Court, 1979
- The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 1979
- All Florida State Courts, 1979
For almost thirty (30) years, Merrilee Ehrlich, Esquire, a trial lawyer, had been appearing in Broward County Courts, on an almost daily basis, often scheduled to appear before several different Judges, on the same day, and at the same time. Successful time management skills, organization and flexibility have always served her well.
As an Assistant State Attorney, Merrilee Ehrlich had successfully represented the police officers and victims of crime in felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile delinquency and dependency cases.
As Defense Counsel, Merrilee had successfully represented those accused of crime in juvenile delinquency, adult felony, misdemeanor, juvenile dependency and criminal traffic cases.
In Juvenile Dependency cases, Merrilee had also represented children as Guardian Ad Litem/Attorney Ad Litem and had served as their State-licensed foster parent. Merrilee Ehrlich has served as the Prosecutor against, and later as Defense Counsel for, the parents or alleged abusers in juvenile dependency cases and in the criminal charges that have resulted therefrom, as well.
Merrilee Ehrlich well knows all sides of the cases she now hears as a Circuit Court Judge, as she had tried hundreds of cases and represented thousands of clients from both sides of the courtroom aisle.
For almost 3 decades, Merrilee has regularly interacted with the agencies, offices, and individuals located throughout the Broward County Courthouse and its Satellite locations. She is very familiar with the day-to-day operations of the Broward County Clerk of Courts, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Jails, Court Deputies, Judges Offices, Court Administration, and others as they relate to the practical procedures in Court and behind the running of the dockets, courtrooms, and otherwise.
Merrilee has served
- 2011-present: International Association of Women Judges;
- 2011-present: National Association of Women Judges;
- 2011-present: American Inns of Court, Stephen R. Booher chapter;
- As a volunteer Nova University Law School Moot Court Competition Judge since 1980;
- As a Florida Supreme Court certified Family Mediator since 1994;
- As a Florida Supreme Court certified County Court Mediator since 2004;
- As an Arbitrators, since 2005; and
- As a volunteer Teen Court Judge for many years.
- As a Broward County Circuit Court Judge, since 2009
Merrilee Ehrlich, Esquire has SERVED as an involved member of the following legal and professional organizations:
|1993-1994:||Florida Bar Grievance Committee (1 7C) Chairperson (1 994)|
|1980-1987:||American Bar Association|
|1979-Present:||Florida Bar Association|
|1992:||Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers|
|1982:||National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers|
|2006-2009:||Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys|
|1988-2009:||Broward County Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association|
|1982-Present:||B’nai B’rith Justice Unit #5207 (Broward County Jewish Bench and Bar charitable organization) – President (1990)|
|1984-Present:||Broward County Bar Association|
|1990-Present:||Broward County Women Lawyer’s Association|
|1980-1992:||Broward County Juvenile Officer’s Association (closed 1992)|
|1993-Present:||Association of South Florida Mediators|
Merrilee Ehrlich, Esquire has been RECOGNIZED for some of her professional contributions:
- Nova University Law Center, Moot Court Society, Freshman Competition Judge- “Certificate of Service”, 6 times
- Nova University Law Center, Street Law Program – High School Mock Trial Tournament Judge- “Certificate of Recognition”, twice
- Southern Poverty Law Center- “Certificate of Appreciation”
- Fraternal Order of Police Associates (F.O.P.A.) Davie, Florida “Certificate of Appreciation
- B’nai B’rith, “Certificate Acknowledging Outstanding Performance
- B’nai B’rith Justice Unit #5207- “Past President’s Certificate”
- Broward County Juvenile Diversion Coalition’s 6th Annual Youth Summit, “Certificate of Recognition”
- Nova University Shepard Broad Law Center, Moot Court Society, Martin Feinrider Memorial Intramural Competition Judge “Certificate of Recognition”, twice
- Nova Southeastern University Law School- Upper Class Moot Court Honor Society. Competition Judge – “Certificate of Recognition”. twice
Merrilee Ehrlich has SERVED our community, as well:
|1991-1993:||Ft Lauderdale “Lester H. White” Boys Club-Board of Directors and Parliamentarian|
|1999-2000:||Broward Foster Grandparents, Inc.-Advisory Board|
|1990-2004:||Ft. Lauderdale Business and Professional Women’s Club “Woman of the Year, 1993” and served as a Vice-President|
|1990-Present:||Order of the Eastern Star, Grand Chapter of Florida, Perpetual Member|
|1990-1992:||B’nai B’rith Foundation, Broward Leadership Network-Advisory Board|
|1990:||State of Florida Chamber of Commerce|
|1992-Present:||National Organization of Women, Broward County|
|1999-2000:||Lofts of Palm-Aire Village, Homeowners Association Board of Directors|
Merrilee also CARES about…
- Both Merrilee Ehrlich’s beloved dog and cat were adopted from animal shelters.
- No “Mapquest” necessary to locate Merrilee Ehrlich’s home. Just look for the “Certified Florida Yard 2004” sign in the foliage on the front lawn issued to her by the University of Florida, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods, IFAS Extension.
Merrilee has always been environmentally caring and sensitive to the native flora and fauna that she has grown and nurtured herself.
When Merrilee Ehrlich is asked to accept a SPEAKING engagement from elementary through high school and college through law school, social service agencies, police departments, Y.M.C.A.s, psychologists, social workers, PTAS, unions, gay, lesbian, transgender, and transsexual groups, and , condominium associations, government and community groups, and others, Merrilee wonders who’s more appreciative, them or her. She so enjoys the questions and answers, the disseminating of information, the discourse, the learning that flows both ways and the feeling that comes from the possibility of having a positive influence on even one person.
Merrilee Ehrlich has provided (always for free) lectures on such topics as:
- Criminal procedure
- Constitutional law
- The role of judges
- Juvenile delinquency
- Mental health issues
- Substance abuse
- Your Constitutional Rights
- Hate crimes
- Misconceptions of the homeless
- Domestic violence
- Juvenile dependency
- Foster parent training
- Law as a career and much, much more.
Judge Ehrlich then served on the “Family” Bench until retiring in 2018. During such tenure, she developed and held regular “Attorney-Judge Idea Exchanges/brown bag lunches in her courtroom.”
Judge Ehrlich now serves our community as a Family Mediator (Florida Supreme Court certified since 1994)