Elected & Ex Officio Member

Dean Merritt Ellen McAlister

Gainesville, FL
University of Florida, Levin College of Law
Rice University, B.A., English, Women & Gender Studies
University of Georgia School of Law, J.D.

Merritt Ellen McAlister is a partner in King Spalding LLP’s national appellate and strategic counseling practice. Prior to joining the firm, she served as a law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens of the Supreme Court of the United States and to Judge R. Lanier Anderson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. 

Ms. McAlister’s practice focuses on appellate, statutory, and constitutional law; on advising clients on pre-litigation legal strategy; on evaluating legal arguments for eventual appeal; and on advising clients on strategic procedural and substantive issues in complex litigation, with a focus on representing financial and healthcare sector clients. 

She has successfully handled dozens of appeals in federal and state courts throughout the country, including prevailing on behalf of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in a major employment discrimination case before the Supreme Court in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, 133 S. Ct. 2517 (2013).  Although her practice is national in scope, Ms. McAlister has a special interest in representing clients in the Eleventh Circuit and the Georgia appellate courts.  She was recently named to Benchmark Litigation’s Under 40 Hot List.

Ms. McAlister maintains an active pro bono practice, focusing on appellate-level representation in the Eleventh Circuit, where she frequently accepts appointed cases involving criminal, federal habeas corpus, and civil rights issues.  Before the Georgia Court of Appeals, Ms. McAlister also successfully represented an adoptive parent seeking to vindicate her parental rights as a same-sex parent under Georgia law in Bates v. Bates, 730 S.E.2d 482 (Ga. App. 2012).  For her pro bono work, Ms. McAlister was honored as a Woman Making A Mark by Atlanta Magazine in 2015. 

Ms. McAlister is active in the community.  She is a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2017.  She currently serves on the board of Planned Parenthood Southeast, and she is a member of the University of Georgia Law School Association Council.  She is a past president of the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia, and she previously served as the Co-Chair of the Alumni Advisory Council for The Paideia School.

Dean Merritt Ellen McAlister Image
Areas of Expertise
Appellate Litigation (Litigation)