West Virginia Bar Associations
West Virginia is home to a relatively small legal community. While a total of 9,000 attorneys are licensed in West Virginia, only 4,854 are actively living and practicing in the state. All attorneys licensed in the state must hold a membership with the West Virginia Star Bar and may also join the range of voluntary bar associations active throughout the state.
As the state’s mandatory bar association, the West Virginia State Bar is responsible for regulating the practice of law in the state. The West Virginia State Bar oversees those working in the state’s legal profession by ensuring that local lawyers continue their legal education and by disciplining any attorneys that engage in professional misconduct. Additionally, the West Virginia State Bar strives to support the state’s legal community through an annual meeting, educational events, and member referral services.
Similar to the State Bar, the West Virginia Bar Association serves the state-wide legal community. However, this association is entirely voluntary. Committed to advancing attorney’s legal careers, the West Virginia Bar Association provides a number of networking opportunities and informational services. Members of this association also received opportunities to undertake continuing legal education classes and to seek employment through job postings.
A number of state-wide associations in West Virginia exist to support particular areas of law for minority communities. Practice-specific associations include the Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia, the West Virginia Employment Lawyers Association, and the West Virginia Association for Justice. These bar associations frequently aim to provide assistance to their members through educational opportunities and online resources such as listservs and expert witness banks.
The voluntary bar associations of West Virginia that serve minority lawyers include the Mountain State Bar Association. Minority bar associations within West Virginia often strive to maintain a sense of community among members by regularly hosting events to provide opportunities for socializing with other lawyers and leaders within that minority community. These associations are also committed to offering assistance through legal education courses and academic scholarships.
In addition to the many West Virginia bar associations that cover the entire state, a number of voluntary bar associations focus on serving individual regions. Examples of West Virginia’s region-specific bar associations are the Harrison County Bar Association and the Cabell County Bar Association. Many of these local bar associations are dedicated to benefiting their members by hosting networking events and disseminating law-related news and educational resources.