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Dwight H. Merriam has practiced law for four decades. He represents land owners, developers, governments, and individuals in land use matters. Dwight is a Fellow and Past President and of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a former Director of the American Planning Association, a former chair of APA’s Planning and Law Division, a former chair of the American Bar Association’s national Section of State and Local Government Law, the Connecticut member of Owners’ Counsel of America, a former Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute National Advisory Board, a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, a Counselor of Real Estate, a member of the AARPI, and a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.

He has taught land use law at the University of Memphis, the University of Bridgeport, Vermont Law School, the University of Connecticut School of Law, and the Quinnipiac University School of Law where he was a Distinguished Practitioner in Residence and has published over 200 articles and twelve books including Inclusionary Zoning Moves Downtown, The Takings Issue, The Complete Guide to Zoning, Eminent Domain Use and Abuse: Kelo in Context, and Group Homes. He is lead author of the leading casebook in his field, Planning and Control of Land Development, and co-editor of the leading treatise in the field, Rathkopf’s The Law of Zoning and Planning 4th.

Dwight proudly served for seven years on active duty in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer, including three tours in Vietnam, and 24 more years in the reserves, retiring as a Captain following his command of the reserve augmentation unit of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. To read more about Dwight’s extensive military career, please click here.


Education

  • J.D., Yale University School of Law, 1978

    Chair, Yale Legislative Services;

    Recipient of the Ivan Meitus Prize for research on transferable development rights.

  • M.R.P. (Masters of Regional Planning), Planning, University of North Carolina, 1974

  • B.A., Sociology and Urban Planning, cum laude, University of Massachusetts, 1968


Profession Associations and Positions (Selected)

  • American Bar Association, 1978 to present, Chair of the Section of State and Local Government Law (2010-2011)

  • American College of Real Estate Lawyers

  • American Institute of Certified Planners, current Fellow and past President

  • American Planning Association, former Director and previous Chair of Planning and Law Division

  • The Counselors of Real Estate®

  • Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc.,  Vice Chair Board of Directors

  • Quinnipiac University School of Law,  2015-2018, Adjunct Professor and Distinguished Practitioner in Residence

  • Western New England College School of Law, 1078-1984, Adjunct Professor

  • University of Bridgeport, Memphis State University, University of Connecticut School of Law, various years 1985-1993, Adjunct Professor

  • Vermont Law School, 1994-2008, Adjunct Professor

  • University of Connecticut School of Law, 2009-2014, Adjunct Professor

  • Connecticut Law Tribune, Board of Editors, Former Vice Chair, and current member

  • Owners' Counsel of America, Connecticut Member, member of the Board of Directors

  • Former Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS)


Awards and Recognitions (Selected)

Chambers and Partners (2018) one of only two Band One lawyers in the category of Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use — Connecticut

“Dwight Merriam is regarded as an "iconic land use lawyer" and "one of the deans of the Bar." He handles a wide range of land use matters, including related litigation. His client roster includes real estate developers, land owners and government agencies.”

Bruce Hoben Distinguished Service Award - First recipient of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association

“Given in memory of Bruce Hoben, whose selfless involvement with and longtime leadership in the Chapter, along with his many contributions to the practice of planning in Connecticut, truly exemplifies the spirit of distinguished service.”

Connecticut Bar Association John Eldred Shields Distinguished Professional Service Award (2017)

American Bar Association Jefferson Fordham Society Lifetime Achievement Award (2017)

“This award is presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the practice of state and local government law by an individual over an entire career, for contributions over a number of years of service.”

Connecticut Law Tribune Professional Excellence Award (2015)

American Registry recognition (2013-Present):

  • Top Attorneys August 2018 - Hartford Magazine

  • America’s Most Honored Professionals 2018 – top 5%

  • Top 50 Attorneys in Connecticut – Connecticut Magazine November 2017

  • America’s Most honored Professionals April 2017 – top 1%

  • Top Attorneys in New England – 2016

  • America’s Most Honored Professionals 2016 – top 1%

  • Top Attorneys in Connecticut – Connecticut Magazine November 2016

  • Top Attorneys in New England – 2015

  • Top 100 Attorneys in New England – 2015

  • America’s Most Honored Professionals 2015 – top 1%

  • Top 50 Attorneys in Connecticut – Connecticut Magazine November 2014

  • Top 100 Attorneys in New England – 2014

  • America’s Most Honored Professionals 2014 – top 1%

  • Top Attorneys in New England – 2013

  • Top 50 Attorneys in Connecticut – Connecticut Magazine 2014

  • Best Attorneys in Connecticut 2013

  • New York’s Top Attorneys 2013

  • Lawyers of the Year New York 2013