Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Merrill Albert ’40
Born on April 19, 1923, in New Haven, Connecticut, Mr. Albert was left in an orphanage in Oakland, California, with his brother at age 7 and never saw his mother again. Known as Merrill “Smith” at the time, he lived in several foster homes during the Great Depression until he found a more permanent foster home with the Tuckers of Oakland, California.
Mr. Albert graduated from Tech in 1940 with high honors and was accepted at U.C. Berkeley. After completing his freshman year, he joined the Merchant Marines at the outbreak of World War II. He then discovered in a birth certificate that his true last name was Albert, not, Smith. Over the next several years, he rose to the rank of First Mate on a “Liberty” ship of 500 men, and later obtained his Captain’s papers.
After an honorable discharge from the Merchant Marines, Mr. Albert re-enrolled at Berkeley. He pledged with the Sigma Nu fraternity, which elected him its President, and was elected Captain of the Berkeley varsity tennis team for two straight years. A distinguished student at Cal – graduating with as BS in Accounting with Highest Distinction – Mr. Albert was then accepted into Boalt Hall School of Law (Berkeley Law). At law school, Mr. Albert supported himself by publishing his course outlines through the Berkeley Law School. He was elected Articles Editor of the California Law Review, which published several of his scholarly articles. He graduated sixth in the Berkeley Law class of 1955.
During the next 35 years practicing law as a trial attorney in Los Angeles, Mr. Albert tried over 300 jury cases to verdict. His clients included the Southern Pacific Transportation Company, Santa Fe Railroad, Union Pacific Railroad, and the Regents of the University of California. His brilliant and at times theatrical trial tactics resulted in numerous defense verdicts for his clients and ample press coverage.