Attorney of the Month Award for Pima County
By Michele Mirto
Merle Turchik has been selected as the Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney of the Month for February. Merle joined the VLP in 2006 where she represents clients in employment law cases. Merle is also a frequent participant in the VLP’s Employment Advice Only Clinic where she meets with clients to determine the merits of their case and to provide advice and brief service. In all, Merle has assisted 320 VLP clients since becoming a member of the program.
Q & A WITH MERLE TURCHIK
Where are you from? I was born in Chicago , IL and grew up in Des Plaines, IL , a northwest suburb of Chicago until moving to Tucson in the late ‘70s to attend the University of Arizona.
What is the history of your practice of law? I became a lawyer in 1986 and began as a commercial litigation associate in the Tucson branch of Winston & Strawn, a Chicago-based law firm. In 1988, the Tucson branch joined Lewis and Roca where I continued as an associate until deciding to move back to Chicago in 1989 and accepting a judicial clerkship for the Hon. Joan B. Gotschall. I became licensed in IL in 1990. Unable to re-acclimate to the cold weather, I returned to Tucson in 1990 to work as an employment lawyer in the Civil Division of the City of Tucson Attorney ’s Office. After 14 years of public practice, I left in 2004 to form Ryan Turchik, P.C., with my former law partner, Mary Judge Ryan. We dedicated our employment law practice to improving the workplace and educating workers about their rights (yes, even in the at-will state of Arizona employees still have some rights). In 2014, I formed Turchik Law Firm, P.C. where I continue to focus my practice in the areas of Employment Law, Governmental, and Administrative Law.
Favorite Tucson restaurant? Too hard to narrow it down to just one. I enjoy Kingfisher and Feast, Fronimo’s, Bentley’s, Beyond Bread, Café a la Cart, and Sauce.
What drives you to volunteer with VLP? My strong belief that legal services should be available to everyone in our society, not just the 1%. Our services are getting harder for regular folks to afford.