WHEELING -- After having made a name for herself statewide and nationally, a prominent Wheeling attorney is hanging out her own shingle.

Teresa Toriseva recently announced the opening of Toriseva Law.

"I've always had this energy and desire to be a private businessperson," she said this week. "Being a partner is close to that, but you don't fully realize that drive and energy and desire until it's 100 percent all your own. I have this passion to accomplish something on my own."

Toriseva, 38, has accomplished a great deal in her legal career. She's earned a statewide reputation as the former president of the West Virginia Association for Justice, formerly known as the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. And she's known nationally for her work on many mass tort cases.

After graduating from West Virginia University's College of Law in 1995, Toriseva practiced law in Charleston for about eight years before returning to the Wheeling area about six years ago.

"I respect my former partners greatly, and I thank them for the chance to work with them," she said. "I just decided to take a path to build a West Virginia law firm that is 100 percent mine. It's spooky and exhilarating at the same time.

"I'm a staunch, staunch believer in equal rights. To preach it, I have to live it. This is one of the first a few female-owned law firms in the state. The long-term plan is to grow and develop.

"I'm doing this with the utmost respect for my former partners. I will be working with them on a number of projects.

Toriseva said the new chapter in her life is exciting.

"There are so many new opportunities," she said. "I've received a very positive community response. I have this national reputation in the work I do with mass torts. But I'm interested in growing the local reputation. This is my community."

And, it's all hers.

"It's just me," Toriseva said. "It's all on my shoulders. It's overwhelming in a very positive way. I fully recognize the enormity of what I'm undertaking."

As part of that, she's taking ownership of the building that houses her office, located on National Road in Wheeling. And she's quick to note that it isn't too far from Cameron, the small town in which she grew up in Marshall County.

"I really am interested in this area," she said. "I grew up in Marshall County. Wheeling is my home. I want to focus on community development work -- work that makes a difference. I want to do more of that -- representing people in West Virginia and the northern Panhandle, in particular.

"I'm excited about this opportunity and to focus on the goal of bringing something to my community by representing regular people and helping them obtain access to the courts."

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