SPECIAL REPORT- This edition of the Bar Brief is arriving early because of three special activities relating to the WV Bar Foundation.   SPECIAL BAR FOUNDATION FELLOWS DINNER- On June 24, a very special Bar Foundation Fellows Dinner was held to honor not one, but two, classes of Bar Foundation Fellows. The 2020 Dinner was cancelled because of the Covid-19 virus pandemic; and, then, the 2021 Dinner was postponed from its normal date in April to June 24 after the social distancing guidelines and masking restrictions were rescinded.   A large crowd of judges, lawyers and their guests were in attendance at a beautifully arranged room at the 4 Points Sheraton Hotel in Charleston. Pictured above is a photo of a portion of the Dinner setting.   The attendees were extremely pleased to actually greet their colleagues, friends and new acquaintances, in person, after almost a year and a half of restricted activity and interaction. After a splendid reception and excellent meal, inspiring comments were made by recent graduate Emily Neely (Gerrardstown), who received the Bar Foundation Public Service Scholarship during her three years at the WVU College of Law. She has received a Fellowship to provide legal services to low income citizens in our state’s Eastern Panhandle.   The three most recent Bar Foundation Presidents, Ellen Cappellanti (Charleston), Chip Shaffer (Madison) and Christy Morris (Charleston) then presented a special Bar Foundation grant, in the amount of $24,000, to Emily and to Law School Dean John Taylor, to support the student legal clinics at the College of Law.   President Cappellanti introduced the 2020 class of Bar Foundation Fellows, “whose professional, public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the welfare of their communities and honorable service to the legal profession”. They are:   Barbara Fleischauer-Morgantown Carte Goodwin-Charleston Michele Grinberg-Charleston Anne Harman-Wheeling Karen Kahle-Wheeling Judge H. L. Kirkpatrick-Beckley Charles Loeb-Charleston                                Melissa Luce-Charleston Christopher Luttrell-Martinsburg Sandy Murphy-Charleston Larry Rowe-Charleston Teresa Tarr-Charleston Dean John Taylor-Morgantown   President Shaffer introduced the 2021 class of Bar Foundation Fellows:   Justice Tim Armstead-Charleston Randy Bernard-Wheeling James Dodrill-Charleston Sharon Flanery-Charleston Karen Garrett-Moorefield Lary Garrett-Moorefield Judge Michael Lorensen-Martinsburg Greg McDermott-Wheeling Steve New-Beckley Meshea Poore-Morgantown Andy Richardson-Charleston Bob Tweel-Charleston                                        Tony Werner-Wheeling Chip Williams-Beckley   After each member of the two classes was individually honored, Judge Kirkpatrick (2020) and Justice Armstead (2021) made well received comments on behalf of the two classes regarding judges, lawyers and the Bar Foundation’s mission to improve the administration of justice.   The Fellows Dinner was an extraordinarily special event during this extraordinary pandemic to honor extraordinary members of the judiciary and the legal profession.                                                                       SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT- The WV Bar Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has unanimously selected Debra Scudiere (Morgantown) to serve as the Bar Foundation Executive Director, effective July 1, 2021.   Executive Director Scudiere has a wealth of experience and expertise including serving as a Circuit Court Judge (17th Judicial Circuit-Monongalia County); a member of the WV State Bar Board of Governors and Officer, including President; Adjunct Professor at the WVU College of Law; leadership in alternate dispute resolution programs as an expert in mediation; and membership on the WV Judicial Advisory Committee. She is a Bar Foundation Fellow and is additionally involved in a variety of community leadership roles.   An Executive Director Search Committee, consisting of judicial and lawyer leaders, was appointed in March after longtime Executive Director Tom Tinder informed the Board of Directors of his desire to retire sometime in 2021. The Committee reviewed a number of excellent individuals and unanimously recommended Executive Director Scudiere to the Board.   The Bar Foundation warmly welcomes Debra Scudiere as its Executive Director!     SPECIAL GRATITUDE- After providing staff assistance to the WV Bar Foundation since January 16, 1989, Tom Tinder informed the WV Bar Foundation of his desire to retire sometime in 2021. The contents of his resignation message sent on February 19, 2021, to the Board of Directors, is as follows:   “It has been an honor and a highlight of my work career to provide staff assistance to the Bar Foundation since January 16, 1989. From a newly incorporated non profit philanthropic entity with no assets to purchasing and selling two office buildings more than 20 years later, from initiating an Interest On Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program and providing approximately $13 million to legal services for low income people programs during a twenty year period, from no philanthropic grants to more than half a million dollars in grants in just the past fifteen years, from having no specific programs to having three extremely successful annual events—Bar Foundation Fellows, Lunch and Laughs With Legal Legends and the Lawyer Leadership Institute, from no endowment fund to a Justice Fund that will reach $1 million in less than ten years during 2021 and from no revenues to an annual budget of more than $100,000—all of these factors and many more place the Bar Foundation in the best position to have continuing success with new staff.   The one constant proactive aspect the entire time has been the leadership service and guidance that has been professionally provided by the members of the judiciary and the legal profession, who have given their volunteer time and expertise as Officers and Members of the Bar Foundation Board of Directors. They have formulated the plans and made the decisions to move the Bar Foundation from initial incorporation on December 30, 1988 to a thriving philanthropic entity for the legal profession and the judicial system today.   For personal and family reasons, for the impending resolution of the extraordinary virus pandemic, for the past and current Bar Foundation leadership, for the Bar Foundation’s stable financial condition, for the ongoing beneficial Bar Foundation programs and activities and for the bright future planned for the Bar Foundation, it is the right time for me to retire during 2021 and for the Bar Foundation to follow through in pursuing its important mission of improving the administration of justice and the provision of legal services to West Virginia’s citizens.   I look forward to working with each of you as to the most appropriate date for my retirement during 2021.   I will be eternally grateful to the Bar Foundation and to its leadership for the wonderful opportunity to serve as your staff person for almost 32 years.”     FacebookTwitterPinterest
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