MORGANTOWN -- Ten years ago, attorney and public broadcasting volunteer Dan Ringer, was thinking about ways to help average citizens better understand the law and how it applies to them.
The result was a weekly television program called "The Law Works," which celebrates its 250th program this month with a special one-hour call-in about family law and related issues.
Watch the show on West Virginia PBS at 8:30 p.m. on May 14. The number to call that evening is 800-375-4049.
Ringer's guests will be attorneys J. Douglas Crane of Morgantown and James W. Douglas of Sutton.
Crane is one of two practitioners at the law firm of J. Douglas Crane L.C., where the practice concentrates in the areas of family law and bankruptcy. The practice also includes mediation, including both civil and family law. Crane is certified with the State of West Virginia as a divorce mediator.
Douglas is a sole practitioner focusing on divorce law. He is a former Prosecuting Attorney for Braxton County and has served as an Adjunct Professor at Glenville State College. He is also a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.
Since its inception, The Law Works, hosted by Ringer, features open conversation with various legal experts covering a mixture of topics selected from viewer feedback, recent news events and suggestions by colleagues. Each year, 26 programs are produced in the Morgantown studios of West Virginia PBS.
"The purpose of this program is, and always has been, to help viewers understand how the legal system works in the court room and in the community," Ringer said. "My goal is to make the law accessible and uncomplicated.
"I think we've accomplished that and I'm very proud of the program's success. Ten years is a long time in the television world, but I believe it's the range of topics, the caliber of the guests and the relevance to the viewers that keeps the program going."
Program topics have ranged from how to select and communicate with a lawyer to the societal issues raised by the Sept. 11 attacks on America. Other topics discuss family law, how to select insurance coverage, the law of war, the practice of law, and even how a law becomes a law.
Over the years, guests have included state governors, justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court, American Bar Association presidents, deans from the law schools of Harvard University and West Virginia University, state trial court judges and practicing attorneys from all areas of both the law and the state.
Ringer currently has a private law practice based in Morgantown. He is a past-president of the West Virginia State Bar, has taught and lectured at the college level since 1976, and is a member of the graduate faculty of the WVU College of Human Resources and Education. He has received numerous awards and recognitions including West Virginia Lawyer Citizen of the Year from the West Virginia Bar Foundation, American Bar Association Practitioner of the Year, and the President's Award from the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.
"The Law Works" is produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting in cooperation with the West Virginia University College of Law and Mountain State Bar.
Funding for "The Law Works" is provided by ALPS Professional Insurance, the Monongalia County Bar Association, the West Virginia Association for Justice, and the West Virginia State Bar.