DIRECT EXAMINATION ... of Laurie Miller

By Chris Dickerson | Jul 7, 2006

Laurie Miller

CHARLESTON -- Jackson Kelly attorney Laurie Miller recently was elected to the Board of Governors of the Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia (DTCWV).

Miller, who was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, handles product liability litigation, drug and medical device litigation, commercial litigation and deliberate intent cases at Jackson Kelly. She graduated cum laude from the University of Dayton School of Law in 2001.

She, her husband Daniel and cat Zoey all live in Dunbar.

Founded in 1981, the DTCWV is meant to "elevate the standards of West Virginia trial practice" while providing an extended network for defense attorneys to share and obtain information.

On the board

"I have really wanted to get more involved in this terrific organization for a while now. The leadership of DTCWV is made up of fabulous lawyers, a terrific executive director, Peggy Schultz, and just great all-around people. To be included in this group after only five years in practice is wonderful, and I feel very honored."

On immediate plans

"I am co-chairing the Young Lawyers Committee with Ramonda Lyons of Dinsmore & Shohl, and we are planning several new initiatives. We have some great new writing and speaking opportunities for our young defense lawyer members, including an opportunity to speak at our Annual Meeting in Myrtle Beach. We are also working on a deposition program for young lawyers which will be held in November."

On West Virginia

"West Virginia is a great state with lots of terrific opportunities and people. The folks who live and work here work hard –- very hard -– and it is both inspiring and humbling."

On the state's legal climate

"The U.S. Chamber report ranked West Virginia dead last in its most recent survey of state litigation systems. While I am not sure that West Virginia has earned that ranking, I do believe that there is still significant room for improvement, particularly with respect to tort reform. The trial lawyers in this state are a force to be reckoned with, and this can be very tough on West Virginia businesses, both large and small. The end result is that I believe our state's legal climate hurts commerce in West Virginia."

On how to draw business to the state

"Better legislative/legal climate, keep our graduates in West Virginia, and better tax or other financial incentives for business to consider moving an operation here or expanding their operations here.

On other jobs

"If I were not a lawyer, I would be a teacher. Luckily, my job allows me the opportunity to still get out in the community and work with children. Most recently, I had the chance to spend Law Day at Nitro Elementary teaching 'separation of powers' to a fourth- and fifth-grade class. I even got to use a dry erase board! I still have my eyes open for a chance to teach legal research and writing somewhere part-time."

On her legal hero

"I have tremendous respect (which I could not even begin to express) for James K. Brown, retired member of Jackson Kelly. For the opportunities, guidance, support and kind words he has given me, I could never repay and I will never forget. He will always have a special place in my heart. I am a stronger person and better lawyer for having the opportunity to work with him and I am so grateful. I also count my two legal writing professors at the University of Dayton School of Law among those whom I truly admire and respect -– Maria Crist and Rebecca Cochran. Finally, my personal role model (as a lawyer, wife and hopefully mother someday) is Gretchen Callas. For those that know her, this should come as no surprise. I truly look up to her and count her among those who have influenced my life and my practice."

On her most memorable career moment

"I worked on keeping a group of cases out of the Mass Litigation Panel, and we succeeded! I think I had the order tacked up on my bulletin board for about six months."

On spare time

"I love to scrapbook. I also am serving as the Vice President of the Board for the Ronald McDonald House of Southern West Virginia, and I just finished working on the second annual mother/daughter tea party fund-raiser. It was truly a blast! My work for the House is so rewarding on so many levels."

On her favorite sport

"Is cardio-kickboxing a sport? If so, I enjoy that a lot. But if that does not count, I really like watching women's gymnastics and figure skating."

On her favorite sports teams

"Well, here I have to say the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets or else my husband would disown me."

On television

"I am a huge HGTV fan! I love 'House Hunters,' 'Devine Design,' 'ReDesign,' 'Designer's Challenge,' 'Design on a Dime' and 'Curb Appeal.'

On vacation

"Anywhere in the Caribbean as long as my husband is with me and there is a pool, a beach, a lounge chair or hammock, sunshine and fruity drinks with umbrellas."

On her perfect day

"Spending the day shopping (and buying!) with the occasional stop at Starbucks for a strawberries & creme frappaccino then coming home and collapsing on the couch to relax with my husband and kitty ... in front of HGTV."

On her dark secret

"I am a recovering reality TV junkie. Thanks to TiVo, I can watch them all –- 'Survivor,' 'Amazing Race,' 'Big Brother,' 'The Bachelor,' 'Hell's Kitchen' and, of course, 'American Idol.' My favorite, yea Taylor Hicks!"

Miller will serve as the DTCWV's "Young Lawyer" representative for a three-year term.

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