Merle F. Wilberding

Merle F. Wilberding: Attorney with Coolidge Wall Co., L.P.A. AV stamp icon


Professional Associations

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law-University of Dayton School of Law; American, Ohio and Dayton Bar Associations; NAIOP; International Council of Shopping Centers

Merle F. Wilberding has more than thirty-five years experience advising and representing clients in the areas of business planning, non-profit organizations, real estate law, taxation, shopping center law, and zoning. This experience affords his clients a unique, skillful, and practical management of matters ranging from general corporate legal and strategic business management issues to complex reorganizations involving asset sales, public and private financing, and spin-offs.

He has represented a wide range of corporations (both for profit and not-for-profit corporations), developers, and religious organizations located both within and outside of the United States. He has served as chairman and general counsel for the Greater Dayton Foreign Trade Zone, Inc. He has a broad range of legal and business experience, and is an active adviser and board member to a variety of businesses and community non-profit organizations.

He served as chairman of the firm’s Tax Department for ten years. He has briefed and argued a number of tax cases in the Ohio Supreme Court, including Dupps Company v. Lindley and Dayton Supply & Tool vs. Montgomery County Board of Revision.

Merle’s professional publications include articles in national law reviews and other legal and business media. In addition, he is a free-lance writer with a number of articles and books in his list of Publications. He has testified before the United States Congress and before the Ohio legislature as well as giving a number of speeches and presentations as listed in his Speeches.

He is active in the Community and has often been in the News for his professional and community activities. His Personal interests complement his professional and community interests.

Prior to his association with Coolidge Wall, Merle practiced with the Arent Fox law firm in Washington, D.C. Merle also served as a U.S. Army Captain, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Government Appellate Division, where he briefed and argued appeals in the Presidio Mutiny case and the Lt. William L. Calley — My Lai Massacre case.

Community Leadership Activities

- Advisory Council, School of Law, University of Dayton (2004 — Present)

- Advisory Council, College of Liberal Arts, Wright State University (2008 — Present)

- Dayton Opera, Trustee (2008 - 2011)

- Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation, Trustee (2005 - present)

- The Muse Machine — Trustee Emeritus. The Muse Machine is an organization devoted to promoting drama and bringing the arts to more than 100 elementary and high schools throughout the Miami Valley.

- The Greater Dayton Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ #100) - Trustee & Chairman (1996 — 2006). Member, Founding Committee for the establishment of Foreign Trade Zone #100. General Counsel, 1996 — Present

- 2003 Inventing Flight Committee — Trustee (2000 — 2003). A community board responsible for promoting the creation of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park in the year 1992 and for planning and directing the celebration of the Centennial of Flight during the year 2003.

- Board of Community Contributors, Dayton Daily News (2005 — 2006)

- Graduate, Leadership Dayton Class of 1984

- Member, Holy Angels Parish

- The 100 Club — Member. A community organization devoted to recognition of heroic work by members of area police and fire departments.

- President’s Club, University of Dayton

- Sorin Society, University of Notre Dame

- Member, Notre Dame Club of Dayton



- 150 YEARS OF COOL LAW (2003), a book on Dayton and the history of the firm

- DUMPLINGS & DOUGHNUTS (2004), a collection of recipes and rural Iowa memorabilia

- WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT LAW (1971) (Book Published by U.S. News & World Report, Book Division)

- BOBSLEDS & FARMSTEADS, a book on rural Iowa (1998) HAKI AND THE RULE OF LAW (2009)

Free Lance Writing

- Book Review, THE FARM AT HOLSTEIN DIP: AN IOWA BOYHOOD by Carroll Engelhardt, Antioch Review Page 193 (Winter 2013).

- Citation for Tim O'Brien as Richard Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize (November 11, 2012), as published on website and in award program.

- "The Continuing Echo of the Vietnam War," Guest Column on Tim O'Brien, DAILY TIMES HERALD (Carroll, Iowa) (December 12, 2012).

- "Vietnam Experience Rules Passion for Peace," Ideas & Voices Column on Tim O'Brien, DAYTON DAILY NEWS (November 23, 2012)

- "A Time to Recall our Civil War Volunteer Regiment, Ideas & Voices Column on the Ohio 93RD Regiment, DAYTON DAILY NEWS (August 16, 2012)

- "Fighting the War Within," Guest Column on The Invisible War, DAILY TIMES HERALD (Carroll, Iowa) November 8, 2012.

- "IN MEMORIAM: Roger Makley — A Man to be Remembered," Dayton Bar Briefs, Page 12, (October 2008) (Reprinted in DAYTON BARRISTERS, Pages 167-169 (Orange Frazer Press 2009)

- "Remembering Bobby Kennedy at Notre Dame on April 4, 1968," WE ARE ND: THE STORY OF NOTRE DAME AS TOLD BY HER ALUMNI, Pages 126 — 127 [ISBN 978-0-9554097-4-5] (Booklink, Holywood County, Ireland 2008)

- "My Lai 40 Years Later - - What Really Happened in Pinkville?" VIETNAM Magazine, Pages 28 — 35 (April 2008)

- "Sexual Assault in the Military - - Looking for a Few Good Changes," (August 4, 2008), reposted at (August 10, 2008)

- Essay on Coolidge Wall (Living Arts magazine 2008 1Q)

- Essay on History of Coolidge Wall Law Firm (OHIO — An Illustrated History)(Book 2008)

- "People Connect When They Take Part in the Big Read," DAYTON DAILY NEWS, April 2006

- "A My Lai Case Lawyer Sees Comparison to Iraq," DAYTON DAILY NEWS, March 2006

- "A Walk Through History," DAYTON DAILY NEWS, January 2006

- "Building Communities - A Yard at a Time," DAYTON DAILY NEWS, November 2005

- "Mother's Love Was Secret Ingredient," DAYTON DAILY NEWS, September 2005

- "Columbus Gets Special Treatment," DAYTON DAILY NEWS, August 2005

- "The Time Mudlick Distillery went to Washington, D.C." GERMANTOWN PRESS, Germantown, Ohio (August 19, 2004)

- "Gunckel to be Inducted into Miami Valley Walk of Fame," GERMANTOWN PRESS, Germantown, Ohio (September 14, 2006)

- "JUMP for Joe," KETTERING OAKWOOD TIMES, September 13, 2006

Law Review Articles

- "Tax Consequences of Shareholder Guarantees: There's Still Hay in Tulia Feedlot," 6 WYOMING LAW REVIEW 165 (2006), reprinted in THE MONTHLY DIGEST OF TAX ARTICLES (Vol. 58, Page 41, October 2007), and posted for comment on TAX PROFESSOR BLOG

- "Banks and the Equal Pay Act: Establishing a Bona Fide Management Trainee Program," 1 U. DAYTON LAW REVIEW 1 (1976)

- "An Individual's Business Investigation Expenses: An Argument Supporting Deductibility," 26 TAX LAWYER 219 (1973)

- "Enforcement of the Merger Laws by Private Party Litigation," 47 INDIANA LAW JOURNAL 293 (1972) (co-author: Earl W. Kintner) (Reprinted in 14 CORPORATE PRACTICE COMMENTATOR 209 (1972)). (Article cited by United States Supreme Court in California v. American Stores, 492 U.S. 1301, 1306 (1989))

- "New Tax Considerations Injected into Antitrust Treble Damage Proceedings," 19 KANSAS LAW REVIEW 441 (1971)

- "An Ominous Warning for Antitrust Law: The Disposition of the 'Bathtub' Conspiracy -- as Applied to Unincorporated Divisions -- May Have Left a Tell-Tale Ring Around the Tub," 32 OHIO STATE LAW JOURNAL 43 (1971) (Reprinted in CORPORATE COUNSEL'S ANNUAL - 1972, 393 (1972))

-"State Voting Residency Requirements and Civil Rights," 38 GEORGE WASHINGTON LAW REVIEW 93 (1969) (co-author: John A. Macleod) (Article cited by United States Supreme Court in Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 346 n. 16 (1972))

- "The Progressive Penal System at the United States Disciplinary Barracks," 31 FEDERAL BAR JOURNAL 44 (1972)

- "New Speedy Trial Guidelines Promulgated," 2 ARMY LAWYER 1 (Feb. 1972)

- "Balance Amid Change -- You and Military Justice," 28 SOLDIERS 4 (June, 1973)

-"Supreme Court Adds New Guidelines in Determining Court-Martial Jurisdiction," 1971 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW QUARTERLY 413 (1971)

- "Miranda-Type Warnings for Consent Searches?" 47 NORTH DAKOTA LAW REVIEW 281 (1971)

- "Church-State: A Legal Survey -- 1966-1968," 43 NOTRE DAME LAWYER 684 (1968) (See Text accompanying notes 230-399, at 715-734)

- Case Comment, "Criminal Procedure -- 'Beyond a Reasonable Doubt' Standard Not Applicable in Judge's Determination of the Voluntariness of a Confession," (Clifton v. United States, 371 F.2d 354 (D.C. Cir. 1966), cert. denied, 386 U.S. 995 (1967)), 43 NOTRE DAME LAWYER 115 (1967)

- Book Review: MERGERS, MANAGERS & THE ECONOMY (Dr. S. Reid), 45 NOTRE DAME LAWYER 154 (1969)


- Executive Editor, Notre Dame Law Review (1968-1969)

- Awarded the John F. Kennedy Scholarship while attending Notre Dame Law School (1967—1968). This scholarship was funded by Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

- Awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal during my service in the United States Army during the Vietnam War.

- Awarded a Certificate in Librarianship for a summer program at Oxford University (England) through a program offered by the University of North Carolina (2001).

- Awarded admission to Beta Phi Mu, the national honor society for library and information studies.

- Professional Recognition

Peer Rated IV by Martindale-Hubbell

Ohio Super Lawyers

Best Lawyers in America

Who’s Who in America

- I have an avid interest in genealogy, amassing more than 2,500 names in my extended family’s database. I am specializing in the descendants of Carl Herman Joseph Wilberding (1793-1872) who lived in the town of Holdorf, Germany until his death in 1872. Two of his children, Carl Wilberding (1827-1888), and Anton Wilberding (1841-1912), emigrated to America while a third child, Regina Wilberding (1833 — 1908), married Bernhard Strunk and remained in Holdorf.

- My daughter, Abigail, has a B.A. from Purdue University, a M.Ed. from the Ohio State University, and teaches English at Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, Ohio.

- My son, James, has a B.A. and a B.S. from the University of Notre Dame, a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and teaches ancient philosophy and the classics at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany.

Areas of Practice (7)

  • Corporate & Banking Law
  • Real Estate
  • Tax
  • Non-Profit Corporations
  • Business Planning
  • Shopping Centers Law
  • Zoning Law

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
937-999-2114  Phone
937-223-8177  Phone
937-223-6705  Fax
University Attended:
St. Mary's University, Minnesota, B.A., cum laude, 1966; University of Dayton, M.B.A., 1975; Oxford University, England, Librarian Certificate, 2001; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, M.L.I.S., Beta Phi Mu, 2006
Law School Attended:
University of Notre Dame, J.D., 1969; George Washington University, LL.M. in Taxation, 1972
Year of First Admission:
1970, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; 1990, U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit; 1973, Ohio, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio and U.S. Tax Court; 1969, Iowa, District of Columbia and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces; 1974, U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Army, Captain, JAGC, 1969-1973
Payment Information:
  • Credit cards accepted
  • Accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover

Peer Reviews

  • 5.0/5.0 (1 review)
  • High ethical standing icon
  • A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.
  • Legal Knowledge

  • Analytical Capability

  • Judgment

  • Communication

  • Legal Experience


*Peer Reviews provided before April 15, 2008 are not displayed.

Dayton, Ohio

Contact Merle F. Wilberding

Required Fields

Required Fields

By clicking on the "Submit" button, you agree to the Terms of Use, Supplemental Terms and Privacy Policy. You also consent to be contacted at the phone number you provided, including by autodials, text messages and/or pre-recorded calls, from Martindale and its affiliates and from or on behalf of attorneys you request or contact through this site. Consent is not a condition of purchase.

You should not send any sensitive or confidential information through this site. Emails sent through this site do not create an attorney-client relationship and may not be treated as privileged or confidential. The lawyer or law firm you are contacting is not required to, and may choose not to, accept you as a client. The Internet is not necessarily secure and emails sent though this site could be intercepted or read by third parties.