The Sad State of Our Fine Profession

Caveat: I speak from the perspective of a small firm, rural, trial lawyer. Perhaps those in larger cities and other practice areas feel much different than I. It’s just “my take”:

  1. It is a sad day to read of the likely impeachment of a former Chief Justice of the WV Supreme Court of Appeals and the resignation and retirement, two years early, and under a cloud, of my favorite Justice. I hear there’s more to come.
  2. I have attempted to be a force for positive change in the legal profession in WV, advocating things that are strongly recommended by the ABA and the majority view in most states in the US. In the last 5 years, I have served on 1/2 dozen committees and the WV State Bar BOG, while maintaining my 20+ year participation as a Member of the Board of the WV Association for Justice, where I intend to stay.
  3. In response, one of my committee chairs referred to me as “a bomb thrower.
    I am not a bomb thrower. I advocate for civility, better training for young lawyers in the art of lawyering, efficient office management, alternate dispute resolution, and better ways of delivering excellent legal services at affordable costs.
  4. But, I am persistent and irritating. If I am a member of a committee, such as the WV State Bar Student Video Competition, or my old post as The Trial Lawyers People Law School which I chaired for five years, give me a job and I will do it.
  5. But don’t expect me to sit like a lump. If you are my chair person, I will pepper you with ideas, expect some feedback, and try to achieve reasonable, and some unreasonable goals. If I am yours, I expect you to work.
  6. My experience is that the Trial Lawyers (WVAJ) is a dynamic group, tough, smart, and up to date, but much of what they do is outside my practice area. And I do not have the money or clout to be much of a “player” there. I am honored they have given me awards and permitted to serve as a board member for over 20 years.
  7. As for the rest, our profession in WV is encrusted, depressed, often addicted, and tired. We, and the teachers, the police, the churches, and our judges are exhausted by trying to hold our troubled society together. Here in WV the “wheels have come off”.
  8. Our local newspaper’s front page has great photos of people trying hard to keep our community vital, creative, and prosperous, next to story after story of drug offenses, collisions, police chases, child abuse, and gun violence.
  9. Our state and country is in trouble. Good, thoughtful, courageous, people need to reduce the rhetoric and buckle down and keep working for solutions. I will be doing that in my slice of the world and no longer will be serving on statewide committees. It will be a better use of my time.

This post was written by Burton Hunter

1 Comment

  • Ann L. Haight says:

    Burt, Although I understand your comments about focusing on local issues, as someone who appreciates your ideas and perspectives as well as active participation with the State Bar, I hate to see you stepping back from involvement on a statewide level.. But Upshur County will benefit!

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