MARTINSBURG – A West Virginia Business Court Judge has been appointed as a representative for the American Bar Association Business Law Section.

Along with three other additional Business Court Representatives across the country, Judge Christopher C. Wilkes has been selected for the position by the Judges Initiative Committee.

Wilkes currently presides in the 23th Judicial Circuit that overseas Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.

His term will begin on April 6 at the Business Law Section’s spring meeting in New Orleans. During his time in the position, his duties will include serving at section meetings, on committees and participating with specialized task forces.

“I welcome the opportunity to showcase West Virginia’s business court decisions and court system with others from around the country,” Wilkes told The West Virginia Record.

He added that he was quite honored and saw it as a recognition of the good job the West Virginia Court division has done.

“It is a mechanism, I feel, to showcase not only the West Virginia Court division but also in many ways the whole West Virginia court system for being an efficient and effective mechanism for complex commercial disputes,” he said.

The American Bar Association Business Law Section is the “premier community for business law professionals,” according to its website.

Wilkes defined the Business Law Section as the section that concentrates on the matters involving commercial litigation.

He said this was the section of the ABA that handles the education of practitioners and the judiciary about the issues surrounding and concentration on business matters and business disputes. One of the recent hot topics in business law, according to Wilkes, has been e-discovery. This is the way in which electronic data has been searched out, found and secured with the intention of using it in lawsuits. However, the ABA Business Law Section also looks at other issues with regard to construction contracts, mergers and acquisitions and financing along with any other business matters or business disputes.

“It is not only one where I will have the opportunity to interact in an informal manner with the attorneys that practice before the business courts,” Wilkes said. “There is also a component where I interact with law students and young lawyers who are interested in this area of the law.”

He also said a benefit of the position was how court judges could learn and adapt new rules or procedures.

“I am never going to be too old to learn and if somebody does something that is a little better than ours, we are going to bring it back and adapt it into our rules.”

The American Bar Association has about 400,000 members and more than 3,500 entities, according to its website. It was founded in 1878 and offers resources for those in the legal profession. It also plays a role in accrediting law schools around the country and establishing ethical codes for the industry. Anyone working in, studying or interest in law or the legal profession can become a member.

Wilkes will end his term on Nov. 17, 2018, at the section’s fall meeting in Washington, D.C. 

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