Sarah E. Merkle is one of only five lawyers in the world to have earned the credentials Certified Professional Parliamentarian-Teacher (CPP-T) and Professional Registered Parliamentarian (PRP).
Achieving CPP-T and PRP credentials is a rigorous process that involves four examinations, both oral and written, and extensive hands-on experience with a variety of organizations and boards. Individuals must not only demonstrate knowledge of at least five parliamentary authorities, including the most recent edition of the AIP Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure and of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, but also display competency in evaluating governing documents, serving as a presiding officer, drafting opinions and supplementary materials, training on procedural concepts, and advising on procedural rules and strategy.
Sarah passed all four examinations nearly twenty years ago, and since then she has served countless national, regional, state, and local clients, providing the knowledge they need to make sound decisions in an efficient manner. Her extensive public speaking and teaching experience enable her to clearly explain complex concepts to all types of audiences, and clients regularly comment on her ability to make parliamentary procedure interesting and practical. She has spoken to groups ranging from five to 5,000 and is often called upon to present or facilitate in high-conflict and high-stakes situations.
As a parliamentarian, Sarah serves deliberative assemblies of all sizes, including corporations, nonprofit associations, law firms, legislative bodies, political parties, unions, religious groups and churches, government agencies, trade associations, and condominium and homeowner associations. She is one of few parliamentarians who has worked with political parties on both sides of the aisle at the national level. Sarah views parliamentary procedure as a tool and is intent on using procedural rules to enhance, rather than hinder, clients’ meetings. It is this practical approach that sets Sarah apart and enables her clients to attain goals and accomplish objectives with maximum efficiency.
Sarah graduated with honors from the University of South Carolina School of Law and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Henry F. Floyd on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. While in law school, she was elected editor-in-chief of the South Carolina Law Review and named USC’s Outstanding Law Student of the Year by the National Association of Women Lawyers.
In 2020, Sarah published Your Complete Guide to Virtual Meetings, an ebook toolkit with optional accompanying webinar. She is the founder and CEO of Civility, LLC, where she creates resources designed to make parliamentary procedure more accessible to lay users and advises clients in matters of governance and parliamentary procedure.
Sarah lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She enjoys sprint triathlons, backpacking, cooking for friends, and trying to maintain “the cool aunt” status with ten nieces and nephews.