Best Local Lawyer

The Merna Law Group

7400 Beaufont Springs Drive, No. 300

Second place: Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen

Third place: Craig Cooley

John G. Merna, the principal at the Merna Law Group, is surprising in two regards. First, and perhaps most relevant to his practice, he’s the guy who answers the phone when you call, meaning you can dive right into a consultation. And second, he worked undercover for the CIA for eight years. Where? “Let’s just say overseas,” he says. Merna was recruited while he was in law school and went into practice after leaving the agency during the budget-cutting Clinton years. His firm specializes in bankruptcy and family law. Bankruptcy may sound bad, he stresses, but says it’s a good option for people in financial trouble. Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen features — by far — the most Allens of any local law firm. Founded in 1910 by George E. Allen, the firm specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice. Craig Cooley is one of the region’s go-to criminal-defense lawyers and has represented clients in numerous high-profile cases.


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