After graduating from Brooke High School in the Northern Panhandle, Tish attended and graduated with honors from Marshall University and the WVU College of Law. Since 1996, she has practiced at a law firm in Southern West Virginia where she is the firm’s managing partner. She has experience in many different areas of law. In over fifteen years of practicing, she has represented both businesses and individuals in all levels from Magistrate Court to the West Virginia Supreme Court.
In 2010, Tish had the honor of serving as President of the West Virginia State Bar. During her year of service, she visited every courthouse in the State of West Virginia to meet with lawyers in every county in order to improve the legal profession in our State. She gained great perspective on the diversity of the State and the needs of our legal system during these visits. Ultimately, she realized that hard work, leadership, and listening to people allows us to accomplish more for the court system in West Virginia.
Tish has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations including the Marshall University Board of Governors, The Education Alliance Board and the Children’s Home Society Board.
She believes that justice is best served when our justices rule based on the merits of the case, not the identity of the parties. To Tish, that means that the courts should not favor criminal defendants over law enforcement and the victims of crime. She believes that consumers and employees have the same rights under the law as corporations and employees.
In addition, Tish believe that all persons who come before the Supreme Court have the right to have their cases heard by justices whose independence in a particular case cannot reasonably be questioned. While litigants now can seek to “recuse” or remove a justice whom they believe does not meet this basic test of fairness, the justice whose impartiality is challenged is the only person who makes the decision about whether he or she sits on a case. The current Supreme Court Rules do not provide any mechanism for a litigant to challenge the decision of a justice to stay on the case when his or her neutrality is challenged. In the 2008 A.T. Massey case, the United States Supreme Court found the failure of a justice to remove himself from that case rose to the level of a violation of the United States Constitution. In the wake of the Massey decision, states have begun to revamp their recusal rules. A number of these states, supported by scholars and the American Bar Association, are considering new rules that would permit recusal decisions to be reviewed by someone other than the justice whose impartiality has been questioned. Now that the West Virginia Court system has highlighted this problem to the nation, Tish strongly believes we should be at the forefront in the effort to reform our rules.
You can find out more about Tish at www.chafin2012.com.
Justice Robin Davis was born and raised in Boone County, West Virginia, with strong West Virginia values instilled by her parents, a school teacher/administrator and a coal miner.
Justice Davis graduated from Van High School and earned her bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College. She earned both her master’s and law degrees from West Virginia University.
From 1982 to 1996, Justice Davis was a member of the six-person law firm Segal and Davis, L.C., with her husband, Scott Segal. She concentrated in the areas of employee benefits and domestic relations and in 1993 became the first lawyer in West Virginia inducted into the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In 1991 the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals appointed her to the West Virginia Board of Law Examiners, on which she served until her election to the Court in 1996.
Initially elected to a four-year unexpired term, Justice Davis won election in November, 2000, to a full 12-year term. Justice Davis is the most senior member of the Court.
She served as Chief Justice in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2010. Under her leadership as Chief Justice in 2010, the court approved Revised Rules of Appellate Procedure, which modernized and comprehensively changed the appellate process in West Virginia to provide a decision on the merits of each case presented to the Court. The Court also approved new Rules of Juvenile Procedure.
Currently, Justice Davis is the Supreme Court’s designee to the Judiciary’s Initiative on Truancy.
In her previous terms as Chief Justice, she initiated a number of programs which have proven essential to the Court’s work with children and families, including the expansion of parent education programs; the establishment of an on-line Child Abuse and Neglect database; and additions to legal rules governing child abuse and neglect proceedings.
Justice Davis also provided leadership on the creation of the Rules on Mass Litigation; the creation of the West Virginia Trial Court Rules; and the video initial appearance pilot project.
In 2007 Justice Davis led the West Virginia delegation to the National Judicial Leadership Summit in New York City and was responsible for the Court using a competitive national grant to initiate the West Virginia Domestic Violence Registry. She expanded the Supreme Court’s outreach efforts by conducting court proceedings in Wheeling and Charles Town.
In 2000 Justice Davis received the Distinguished West Virginian Award, the Graduate of Distinction Award from the West Virginia Education Alliance in 2008, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Charleston in 2010.
Justice Davis is the author of several West Virginia Law Review articles and co-authored the Litigation Handbook on West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure with former Justice Franklin Cleckley and Louis J. Palmer, Jr., as well as “Punitive Damages Law in West Virginia” and “Workers’ Compensation Litigation in West Virginia: Assessing the Impact of the Rule of Liberality and the Need for Fiscal Reform” with Mr. Palmer.
Justice Davis and her husband have one son, Oliver Davis-Segal.