WV Bar Foundation President Ken Gray (Morgantown), pictured above, authored an excellent article that is included in the Winter 2017-18 issue of the WV Lawyer magazine, the WV State Bar publication that is sent to more than 8,500 lawyers, judges and community leaders in WV and throughout the world.
Entitled “In the Interest of Justice”, the two page spread provides an outstanding overview of the Bar Foundation’s history, programs and achievements to accomplish its mission to improve the administration of justice and the provision of legal services to West Virginia’s men, women and children.
The full article is as follows:
“42 children subject to child abuse and neglect new to the foster care and judicial systems within this time period who would not have had the benefit of a CASA without this funding ….” Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program Administrator.
“This scholarship has lightened my financial burden significantly. It is life changing….” Bar Foundation Public Service Law Student Scholarship recipient.
“The program has produced positive feedback from the community. The local newspaper gives the mock trial front page coverage. The students get better each year.” Circuit Court Judge-WV Law Adventure Program of WV Supreme Court.
These are just three examples of the good work the West Virginia Bar Foundation is doing with your valuable assistance!
As the President of the West Virginia Bar Foundation, I want to update the members of our state’s judiciary and our legal profession about the Bar Foundation’s mission, programs, accomplishments and plans.
Historically, in December 1988, two well-known and well-respected lawyers, Kemp Morton (Huntington) and Bob Steptoe, Jr. (Clarksburg) became the initial incorporators of the organization. Its mission then, and its mission today, is to improve the administration of justice and the provision of legal services to WV’s citizens.
The Bar Foundation is the philanthropic organization for West Virginia’s legal profession and justice system. It is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization and is governed by a fifteen-member Board of Directors that includes two judges and thirteen lawyers from all parts of the state and all types of law practice.
The Bar Foundation achieves its mission by providing grants to worthwhile charitable entities within the state. Since the first Bar Foundation grant was awarded in 2004, a total of 65 grants and awards have been made, totaling more than $320,000 in five categories-public education, civil legal services for low income citizens, law student scholarships, the lawyer assistance program, and child abuse and neglect prevention programs.
Several years ago, the Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors established the Justice Fund as the basis for significantly increasing the number and amount of Bar Foundation grants each year. The fundraising goal is to reach the amount of $1 million by December 31, 2017. In October 2017, more than $670,000, had been committed. Once the goal is reached, the amount of grants will more than double each year!
The Board members give the utmost priority to their governance responsibilities, especially in the fiduciary area. The annual budgets are always positive, there are monthly bank reconciliations by an accounting firm and an annual independent audit by a different accounting firm, which has always been a clean audit.
Over the years, the Bar Foundation has also initiated several law related activities, including:
* Bar Foundation Fellows Program – To recognize those lawyers whose professional, public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the welfare of their communities and honorable service to the legal profession, with the individuals selected reflecting the diverse nature of the legal profession in West Virginia.
* Lawyer Leadership Institute – A top rated weekend session to provide newer lawyers with specific education and professional training that will enable them to become leaders in the legal profession, in their communities, and in the state.
* Lunch and Laughs with A Legal Legend – A “friendly roast” of a legendary lawyer in the state with the proceeds dedicated to a specific law related endeavor and for Bar Foundation grants.
In August, at the American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, the West Virginia Bar Foundation was honored to receive the 2017 LexisNexis Partnership in Success Award from the National Conference of Bar Foundations. The recognition was for a grant to the WVU College of Law for the new Student Legal Clinic in Beckley that provides legal assistance to deserving citizens, legal training for law students, and possible employment opportunities for new lawyers in the underserved southern part of the state.
It is an honor to serve as President of the West Virginia Bar Foundation and I pledge that the Foundation and its Board of Directors will continue to pursue its mission as a thriving philanthropic organization for the legal profession and the justice system. We have only just begun!
JUDGE FRED L. FOX, II
On November 27, Marion County Circuit Court Judge Fred L. Fox, II passed away. His distinguished and honorable service as a member of the judiciary extended from his election in 1970 until his retirement from the bench in 2011.
The tributes from other judges, lawyers and the general public focused on his keen intellect, his exemplary ethical conduct, his leadership and his friendly demeanor. A Bar Foundation Fellow, Judge Fox was assigned numerous times to serve as a Justice on the WV Supreme Court, including a one year stint when Justice William T. Brotherton, Jr. was ill.
All honor to his name.
WILLIAM J. “BILL” POWELL
On December 1, William J. “Bill” Powell of Martinsburg was officially sworn in as the U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia.
U.S. Attorney Powell, a Bar Foundation Fellow, was given the oath of office by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gina M. Groh, a Bar Foundation Fellow. He has been serving in the position for over a month and was quoted as saying that he is working with a “pretty great” team.
Congratulations to U.S. Attorney Bill Powell!