CHARLESTON — The National Business Institute (NBI) has partnered with a law firm to moderate judicial forums in Charleston and Morgantown this spring.
The upcoming seminars, set for April and May, will focus on the West Virginia Business Court and judiciary takes on litigation. The seminars will be managed by two Bowles Rice partners. Stuart McMillan and Andrew Fusco each will manage their own seminar.
The NBI is an institution dedicated to the continual legal education of attorneys. The business court is a relatively new endeavor in the state, a division of the judiciary created just a couple years ago, under the direction of seven judges. Its role is to serve as a specialized section of the circuit court system, allowing business cases to go before judges who truly find their niche in that field.
"It's still a new concept. The whole premise behind it was to get those judges who had an interest in business matters to really kind of handle the cases that interested them and take the caseload off other judges in the state. Sometimes the cases can be more quickly handled now," McMillan said.
Bowles Rice is involved in a number of business court cases, owing to their background as a primarily business litigation firm. McMillan is the chairman of their litigation department and will host the May seminar, titled "As Judges See It: What Attorneys Need to Know About West Virginia's Business Court."
"The business court is new. This is an opportunity to moderate and allow some of the judges who are part of the business court to interact and be able to talk about issues with other lawyers in the state," McMillan said.
Specifically, McMillan will moderate a panel of three judges currently serving on the business court. Those include Judge Jim Rowe of the Eleventh Circuit Court, Judge James Young Jr. of the Twenty-Fourth Circuit Court, and Judge Christopher Wilkes of the Twenty-Third Circuit Court, who is also chairman of the business court division.
Together, those judges will discuss some of the intricacies of the court they would like to see more lawyers make use of, as well as the ins and outs of the court itself. On its face, the court was created specifically to cut down on the caseloads overwhelming typical circuit court judges. Those judges can see everything from complicated civil and business matters to intricate criminal dockets.
The business court allows certain judges to ply their specialty, while relieving others of cases that might otherwise bog them down.
"It handles business disputes and a lot of document intensive cases, dealing with issues from banks and businesses. It's pretty different from a lot of other cases going before typical circuit court judges. The idea is to take some of that off the plate and give it to people more interested in having business type cases," McMillan said.
McMillan himself is a practitioner with a focus on civil trial and appellate litigation, and he tries cases in both federal and state courts throughout West Virginia. Given his familiarity with the business court, his role as moderator was a natural fit.
In April, Fusco will moderate a seminar titled "As Judges See It: Top Mistakes Attorneys Make in Civil Litigation" with Judge Richard Facemire of the Fourteenth Circuit Court, Judge Lynn Nelson of the Twenty-First Circuit Court and Judge Susan Tucker of the Seventeenth Circuit Court participating.
Fusco maintains a practice focused on a diverse range of legal areas, including general and complex litigation alike, antitrust and competition law, business disputes, intellectual property infringement, as well as mergers and acquisitions.
Both work with a full-service law firm of 130 attorneys, with offices located in Charleston, Martinsburg, Morgantown, Parkersburg and Wheeling in Wheeling Southpointe, Pa. and Winchester, Va.