In July 2016, Merel van Dongen graduated law school from the University of Leuven, Belgium. During her studies, she specialised mainly in criminal law, international and European law, and international trade law. 

She had the honour of representing her university in two international moot courts. The first one was the Frits Kalshoven International Humanitarian Law Competition in 2015, in which Merel and her team reached the finals. The second moot court was the ELSA EMC² WTO Moot Court Competition. Her team won the regional round in the Czech Republic and received the awards ‘Best written submission for the respondent’ and ‘Best overall written submission’. The team eventually reached the semi-finals of the final round in Geneva and was ranked fourth internationally.

After several summer internships (including at the Court of Appeal Ghent and the public prosecutor of Antwerp) she decided to start her professional life at the law firm Schuermans advocaten. At the firm, Merel developed a special interest in insurance law. She is coached by Luc Schuermans, who has a profound expertise in the matter from his academic career as an insurance law professor at the University of Antwerp and more than 50 years of experience as a lawyer.

Merel pursues an academic career by publishing articles concerning insurance law and still participates in moot courts.