- Participating in the U.S. Senate Youth Program were from left to right–Nathan Tauger, Christopher Nyden, Justice Davis, Justice Ketchum, Ryan Zahalka, Eli Cloonan and, seated in front, Amber McCoy.
U.S. SENATE YOUTH PROGRAM-
On November 9, the U.S. Senate Youth Program interviews were held in the courtroom of the WV Supreme Court at the State Capitol. Five high school students from around the state participated by making presentations on civic government issues and then responding to questions from a panel of judges. This national program, sponsored by the Hearst Foundation, provides $5,000 college scholarships to two students from each state, as well as attendance at a week-long conference in Washington, DC, where they meet with government leaders, including the President. Supreme Court Justices Davis and Ketchum met with the students and the judges, who were representatives from the State Auditor’s Office, the State School Superintendent’s Office, the State Bar and the Bar Foundation.
INDEPENDENT COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL REFORM-
On November 15, the WV Independent Commission on Judicial Reform released its Final Report with recommendations to improve the judicial system. The Commission, a diverse group of lawyers, legal scholars and members of the judiciary, was appointed by Governor Manchin, held public hearings, received a great deal of information and input and compiled a 140 page report with specific recommendations. The four major areas in the Final Report related to judicial campaign financing, the gubernatorial judicial appointment process, an intermediate court of appeals and a business court. The full report can be reviewed on the Internet at— http://www.judicialreform.wv.gov/Pages/CommitteeReport.aspx
The Annual Report for the Bar Foundation for the 2008-09 fiscal year included numerous achievements and accomplishments which occurred in that twelve month period. The most significant successes related to the approval by the WV Supreme Court and the implementation of the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Comparability Rule which will increase funding for civil legal services for low income citizens in the future, the provision of the largest amount of Bar Foundation grants to worthwhile WV entities in the Bar Foundation’s twenty year history and the improvement of communications with Bar Foundation members, the legal profession and the judiciary, as well as the general public. The Annual Reports for the past two fiscal years are available on the homepage of the Bar Foundation’s website—wvbarfoundation.org