Les Merkley has extensive experience in the areas of law, public policy, government and public administration. He is a licensed and practicing attorney in the State of Indiana and the Federal District Courts for the Southern and Northern Districts of Indiana and the Federal District Courts for the Southern and Northern Districts of Indiana.
Les is a lifelong Hoosier. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Indiana University Southeast where he was student body president. Meanwhile, he studied economics and philosophy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. while working for U.S. Senator Richard Lugar.
After completing his undergraduate studies, Les worked in the political arena for U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton, the Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives and also, managed various state and local political campaigns. Along the way he also was a radio announcer in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.
Les later earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School before returning home to Jeffersonville where he was in private practice for nearly 12 years representing various clients ranging from criminal defendants to business organizations. Les was also a Deputy Public Defender in Clark County, Indiana.
In 1999, Les was elected to the City Council in Jeffersonville and served one term representing the downtown and historical district. While he did not seek re-election to his council seat, he remained in city government after the newly elected Mayor appointed Les as the City Attorney. In 2008 Les joined the law firm of Waters, Tyler, Hofmann & Scott, LLC in New Albany, Indiana where his practice concentrated in the areas family and municipal law.
In 2012 Les returned to city government when he was appointed as City Attorney. He now serves as corporation counsel and director of legal affairs for the city. As the head of the city’s legal department, Les coordinates all litigation, drafts legislation, advises the mayor and other city officials and departments on legal, public policy and finance matters.
He is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association and member of the Indiana Municipal Lawyers Association. Les is a former Barrister of the Sherman Minton Chapter of the American Inns of Court. He has served on the Board of Directors for the IU Southeast Alumni Association and the Clark County Family Health Center Board of Directors. Les has been a presenter at conferences of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and the Indiana Municipal Lawyers Association.
The Jeffersonville Department of Law is responsible for:
- managing the legal affairs of the city
- prosecuting violators of city ordinances
- giving legal advice to the officers, departments, boards, commissions, and other agencies of the city
- drafting ordinances or other legal papers for the city and its departments, boards, commissions, and other agencies when requested by the proper officer;
- maintaining custody of the records of his office and turn them over to his successor in office
- making all title searches and examine all abstracts required in public work of any kind, including opening, widening, or changing a street, alley, or public place
- promptly commencing all proceedings necessary or advisable for the protection or enforcement of the rights of the city or the public
- using all diligence to collect costs, fees, and recoveries within the scope of his duties
- reporting, in writing, to the city executive all matters that he considers important; and
- reporting, in writing, to the city fiscal officer all judgments for which the city is liable