Bradley Merrill Thompson Featured in “An Illini Lineage: The Thompson Family’s Relationship with Illinois Goes Back Almost a Century”

Illinois LAS

Bradley Merrill Thompson, Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was featured in the Illinois LAS, in “An Illini Lineage: The Thompson Family's Relationship with Illinois Goes Back Almost a Century,” by Abby Paeth.

Following is an excerpt:

At 89 years old, Merrill Thompson makes it a point to return to the University of Illinois campus whenever he can. It is, after all, a family place—a place where one goes to reflect and help out.

His adoptive father was a graduate of the business school (now Gies College of Business) at Illinois who played football with Red Grange. Merrill and his late brother, Vince, attended the University of Illinois during World War II, and they both left campus to fight for the U.S. in the Korean War. Merrill said his brother's wife, Genevieve, also graduated from the University of Illinois, studying home economics in the College of Agriculture (now College of ACES).

“There wasn’t any other place I wanted to go,” Merrill, who earned his degrees in the 1950s, said. “The opportunity was so important and everything here represented opportunities that I could weigh and think of for the first time. I came here because, boy, this school had everything.” …

When Merrill and Emma’s son, Bradley (BA, ’82, economics; MBA, ’83, international business), was applying to schools, such as Princeton and Dartmouth, Merrill encouraged him to add one more to his list of possibilities — the University of Illinois. Bradley knew how much Illinois meant to his father and to his family, so he submitted his application.

As it turned out, Bradley would soon follow his father’s path as an Illini and later on as a lawyer.

After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Illinois, Bradley went on to earn a degree at the University of Michigan Law School. He later joined Baker & Daniels in Indianapolis, where he pioneered the creation of a food and drug law practice and frequently went to his father for advice and counseling regarding food and drug regulation.

After about 10 years, Merrill joined Bradley at Baker & Daniels and the two were able to practice law together.

Today, Merrill is retired and Bradley is a member of the firm at Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. Merrill’s love for the University of Illinois led him and Emma to establish the Merrill and Emma Thompson Endowment Fund to provide scholarships to in-state students pursuing a law degree.