West Virginia Bar Association

Proceedings of the Twenty-fourth Annual Meeting of the West Virginia Bar Association, 1908.



1. The Association shall be known as "The West Virginia Bar Association."


2. The Association is formed to advance the science of jurisprudence; to promote reform in the law; to facilitate the administration of justice; to uphold integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession; to encourage liberal education, and to cultivate cordial intercourse among the members of the bar.


3. The members of the legal profession attending this convention this 8th day of July, 1886, are hereby declared to be members of this Association, provided they shall, during this present session, pay the admission fee hereinafter mentioned.

Any member of the legal profession in West Virginia, of good standing, residing therein, may become a member of the Association upon nomination and vote, as hereinafter provided.


4. All nominations for membership shall be made by the Committee on Admissions, and must be transmitted in writing to the President and by him reported to the Association, and the Association shall thereupon vote by ballot. Several nominees may be voted for upon the same ballot, and in such case, placing the word "No" against any name or names upon the ticket, shall be deemed a negative vote against such name or names, and against those only. One negative vote in every five shall suffice to defeat an election. No member of the bar residing in a coutay [sic] where there is a local Bar Association shall become a member of this Association unelss [sic] he shall be a member of such local Association.


5. The officers of the Association shall be a President, who shall be ineligible to re-election on the expiration of his term; one Vice-President from each Congressional district represented by membership in the Association; a Secretary and Treasurer. All of these shall be elected, at the annual meeting and hold their offices until the next annual meeting of the Association and until their successors are elected. A majority of votes shall be necessary to the election of officers, including the election of the Executive Council. Such election shall be by ballot.


6. At the annual meetings the Association shall elect an Executive Council to be composed of five members and the President and Secretary. The President-elect shall, with the approval of the newly-elected Executive Council, appoint the following standing committees, to-wit:

A Committee on Admissions.
A Committee on Judicial Administration and Legal Reform.
A Committee on Legal Education.
A Committee on Grievances.
A Committee on Legal Biography.
A Committee on Legislation.
A Committee on Banquet.

The Committees on Judicial Administration and Legal Reform, on Legal Education, on Legislation, and all other committees appointed to propose matters for legislative action, or to which such matters may be referred for report, shall, at the expense of the Association, have printed and distributed to members copies of their reports at least ten days before such annual meeting. It shall be deemed a compliance with this requirement if such reports shall have been published in The Bar at least ten days before such annual meeting.

A majority of the members of every committee, including the Executive Council, who may be present at a meeting of the Association, or at a meeting of such committee held in accordance with By-law No. 8, shall constitute a quorum of such committee.


7. No action of this Association of a permanent nature or recommending changes in law or the administration of justice, shall be had until the subject matter thereof shall have been reported upon by the appropriate committee to which the same shall have been referred, unless this regulation shall be suspended by a two-thirds vote of the members voting thereon.


8. The President, or in his absence the Vice-President, senior in years, shall preside at all meetings of the Association, and the President shall deliver an address at the opening of the annual meeting after his election, which address shall discuss matters of special interest to the people of this State, arising upon legislation enacted and decisions rendered.


9. This Counceil [sic] shall manage the affairs of this Association, subject to the provisions of the constitution and by-laws, and shall be vested with the title to all its property, as trustees thereof, and shall make by-laws for the Association, subject to amendment by the Association.


10. The proceedings of this committee shall be deemed confidential, and shall be kept secret, except so far as written reports of the committee shall be necessary and officially made to the Association.


11 it shall be the duty of the Committee on Judicial Administration and Legal Reform to take notice of all proposed changes in the law, and to recommend such as maybe in their opinion entitled to the favorable influence of the Association; and, further, to observe the working of the judicial system of the State, to collect information with reference thereto, and to recommend such action as they may deem advisable.


12, It shall be the duty of the Committee on Legal Education to examine and report upon any proposed changes in the system of legal education and of admission to the practice of the profession in the State of West Virginia.


13. The Committee on Grievances shall have jurisdiction of all matters relating to the practice of law, and the administration of the courts, involving any unprofessional conduct on the part of any member of the bar of this State, or any impropriety on the part of any member of the judiciary thereof, which may tend to lower the standard of the legal profession, or impair public confidence in, and respect for, the courts, or otherwise be prejudicial to the interests of the bar of this State. It shall be the duty of said committee to take cognizance of all matters of this character which may come to their attention, and it shall be the privilege and duty of all members of this Association to bring to the attention of said committee all such matters which may come under their observation. All such complaints shall be made to the committee in writing, with details and particulars. Whenever, in the judgment of the chairman of said committee, the facts of any such case may warrant it, he shall promptly call a meeting of the committee daring the interim between the meetings of the Association, and shall enter upon a formal investigation of the matter or complaint by such method or procedure as the committee may adopt. All cases of minor character shall be pursued by such inquiry as the chairman or members may adopt for obtaining the facts without: a formal investigation. But all cases shall be reported to the Association, at the regular meeting next after the receipt of the complaint, with such recommendations as the committee shall deem advisable, upon which this Association shall take such action as it may deem expedient. No action by the committee shall be deemed binding on the Association till formally approved by a vote of the Association.

In all cases arising under this article the accused shall be given due notice and an opportunity to be heard before action is taken.

In all cases of unprofessional conduct on the part of attorneys who are members of the bar of this State, but not members of this Association, it shall be the duty of said committee, after the case has been reported by the committee to the Association, and after the committee has been so instructed by the Association, to bring the matter to the attention of the proper court or courts in such manner as the Association may direct; provided that, whenever it is necessary to present any matter arising under this article to any court the Association may, if it is deemed advisable, authorize the President to appoint a special committee to assist, and act under the Committee on Grievances in so doing.

The proceedings of the Committee on Grievances shall be deemed confidential, and shall be kept secret except so far as reports of the same shall be necessarily and officially made to the Association.


14. The Committee on Legal Biography shall provide for the preservation among the archives of this Association of suitable written or printed memorials of the lives and character of the deceased members of the West Virginia Bar.


15. The Committee on Legislation shall have charge of all measures proposed by the Association upon which legislative action is desired or contemplated. It shall be its duty to draft all necessary bills incorporating the special recommendations of the Association, to have the same introduced in the Legislature, and to adopt such means and methods as will promote their enactment into law, and to suggest and submit to the Association such measures as they may think advisable.


16. The Secretary shall keep a record and conduct the correspondence of the Association and perform the usual duties of such office.


17, The Treasurer shall collect, and by order of the Executive Council, disburse all funds of the Association, and keep regular accounts, which at all times shall be open to the inspection of any members of the Executive Council.


18. This Association shall meet annually at Parkersburg or such other places and at such time as shall be fixed at each session of the Association. Those present at such a meeting shall constitute a quorum.


19. The fee for admission to membership shall be $5, which shall in all cases accompany the application for membership. The annual dues shall be $4, the payment of which shall entitle each member to receive one copy of the journal and all the regular publications free of charge. The Treasurer shall annually set apart and pay over to the Executive Council one- fourth of the sum collected as annual dues, which shall be used as a fun [sic] for paying the expenses of publishing the journal of the Association.


20. This constitution may be altered at any annual meeting, on the recommendation of the Executive Council, by a vote of the majority of the members present, or without such recommendation by a vote of two-thirds of the members present.


21. Any member may be expelled by a majority of this Association at any annual meeting.


22. Any member may resign at any time upon the payment of all dues for the current year in which the resignation is tendered; provided, there be no charges for misconduct against such member.

From the date of the receipt by the Secertary [sic] of a notice of resignation, with an endorsement thereon by the Treasurer that all dues have been paid, as above provided, the person giving such notice shall cease to be a member of the Association.


22. [sic] Any member of this Association who has for two successive years failed to pay his annual dues, having due notice thereof, shall be dropped from the roll of membership by the Treasurer, and if at the end of one year thereafter he shall still be in default for dues, his membership shall thereby be forfeited; but if he shall within each year pay all his dues, such payment shall restore him to membership. The Treasurer shall report his action under this article to each annual meeting of the Association.


23. As early as practicable on the first day of the annual meeting, the President shall appoint a special committee on nominations, consisting of five members, which committee shall promptly meet, receive all nominations which may be offered for any office, for membership in the Executive Council, or for election as delegate to the American Bar Association, and shall report to the Association not later than the afternoon of the first day, recommending not more than three names for each position; but nothing herein shall prevent nominations being made from the floor of the Association.