Memories of a Small Town Lawyer #1

Today I was showing  my paralegal Letetia our old sample form files. Four bankers boxes, carefully tabbed with tables of contents. The results of thousands of hours of work. Been upstairs out of the way 10 years.

I also kept 3″ by 5″ file cards of every, single, newly reported WV Supreme Court case, indexed in a card box, sorted alphabetically by subject, and by parties’ last names.

I created an Apple Database by typing subjects of headnotes into a flat list maker called Appleworks.

And, as if that weren’t fanatical enough, I attended the seminars of Charles Hughes of New Martinsburg, or was it Moundsville?

Charlie kept three big 3 ring binders that held every WV Supreme Court insurance case, so I wore out our copier so I could have one too. Of course, it too was tabbed with a table of contents, and we updated it every year until Charlie had his stroke.

Lawyers Coop Rep. Mel Pennington, who could sell you a $2000 set of Am Jur 2nd in a 15 minute visit, came up with “Autocite”, a dumb terminal that printed all cases that cited your case. I wanted to put one in the courthouse. Mel, and his successor Vernon Bailey were great salesmen because they came to town and really were your friend.

Good old days? Not so sure. Information is so much more available now. So much information that we miss a lot, and at least in the national political scene, people seem to be losing the ability to think critically.

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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