Charleston attorney chronicles road trips in new book

By Chris Dickerson | Oct 19, 2007

CHARLESTON – A Charleston attorney is guilty of alleged humor, but it's all for a good cause.

Stephen R. Crislip, an attorney with Jackson Kelly, recently released a book titled "Down to the Hard Road: Almost Legal Humor."

The book came to be when Crislip, a defense attorney, had to make 25 road trip in 24 months to various legal conferences across the country.

"A lot of time in, or waiting for, airplanes allowed creative opportunities and observations without taking away from the paying job," he says. "Trust me when I say that I am keeping the day job and not holding out for the movie rights.

"The book is, however, worth unscrewing the cap on a bottle of wine and enjoying a light read."

Operating on the premise that the most difficult lawyers or people generally are those born without humor, Crislip pieces together a string of meetings with random descriptions of locales, people and pure silliness.

Crislip, 59, said the title comes from his pure West Virginia roots and common Mountain State directions.

"Go down to the hard road until you come to the four lane and follow it to the Robert C. Byrd Freeway," he said.

Besides writing a book, Crislip said he had a bigger goal. All of the proceeds from the book are going to charity.

"I decided to keep a chapter for each of these trips for an allegedly humorous book," Crislip said. "But I decided that nothing would come to me. Instead, I'm donating all of the profits from the book to the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. That's the real story, I think.

"Even if you think it's a terrible book, it's disposable like a camera. The proceeds are going somewhere good. Besides, a lot of people could use a little bit of humor."

The book came out in September, and Crislip said about 200 copies have sold just by word of mouth.

Crislip had a book signing on Oct. 18 at Taylor Books in Charleston. It's also available online at various book sellers such as and The book's Web site is

"A lady stopped me yesterday to tell me that her husband had read it, liked it, and took his copy to a friend in Africa where they were working on a project," he said. "If it was read by a relative in Fayette County and now one copy has made it to Africa, I am claiming international publishing status."

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