CHARLESTON – The most recent recipient of the West Virginia Bar Association's Award of Merit has some advice for up-and-coming attorneys.
“The pace and demands of the practice of law have increased dramatically in recent years," Charleston-based attorney Stephen R. Crislip, former general counsel at Jackson Kelly, said during a recent interview with The West Virginia Record. "Lawyers still must make time to be involved in voluntary associations in their profession and in their communities."
WVBA Award of Merit recipient Stephen R. Crislip Photo courtesy of Stephen R. Crislip
He said newer attorneys also should be mindful of the legal profession's history.
"It is a rich tradition that predates the formation of this country," Crislip said. "The role of the local lawyer contributing their time and training to community groups and government.”
Crislip received the West Virginia Bar Association's Award of Merit during the association's 130th annual meeting this past spring at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. Association President, William J. Powell of Martinsburg, presented the association's highest award to Crislip. Alvin L. Emch of Charleston made the introductory remarks on behalf of Crislip.
Crislip was the 18th award winner, joining four judges and justices, two law school professors and 11 private practitioners.
"The West Virginia Bar Association is one of the oldest voluntary bar associations in the United States," Crislip said. "I was pleased to receive this award. The value of the award comes from the quality of the prior recipients, a group I was honored to join. All have contributed to the bench and bar of this State in differing ways."
Founded in 1886, the West Virginia Bar Association ranks among the oldest such associations in the U.S. and is the oldest in the state.
Past recipients of the award include Edward I. Eiland, John O. Kizer, Charles R. McElwee, Charles F. Bagley Jr., Thomas B. Miller, John L. McClaugherty, Robert M. Steptoe Sr., Robert E. Maxwell, G. Thomas Battle; Howard M. Persinger Jr., Dean John W. Fisher II, John T. Copenhaver Jr., Thomas E. Potter, James W. St Clair, Forest J. Bowman, Irene M. Keeley, U.S. District Judge Frederick P. Stamp Jr. and West Virginia Bar Association past president Richard E. Ford.
Crislip began as an associate at Jackson Kelly in 1973, serving as a member from 1980 to 2013. His practice currently focuses on litigation with an emphasis on cases involving professional responsibility, general litigation, construction litigation and business litigation.
Before joining Jackson Kelly, Crislip was a graduate assistant and academic adviser at West Virginia University where he majored in political science. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1970 with honors, and was a Rhodes Scholar finalist in 1969 and 1970. He graduated from the West Virginia University College of Law in 1973, Order of the Coif. For two years, he was active in labor litigation before moving onto Jackson Kelly's commercial litigation practice group.
In addition to his legal career, Crislip served 10 years on Charleston Family YMCA's board of directors and is a former chairman. He was trustee and board chairman of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation from 1996 to 2003 and is past chairman of the Visiting Committee at the West Virginia University College of Law.
He also has served on the board of the West Virginia Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and has been a lecturer for West Virginia CLE and various other bar-related groups. He was a chapter author on evidence for the prototype Fourth Circuit handbook and is currently the West Virginia chapter author for The Tort Law Desk Reference. He is a chapter author for a Defense Research Institute book on law office management, in addition to authoring a legal humor book titled "Down To The Hard Road", and the national blog site Lawyering for Lawyers.