West Virginia Executive Summer 2019 | Page 96

2019 AWARDS Patrick S. Casey Founding and Managing Member, Casey & Chapman, PLLC Sandra M. Chapman Founding Member, Casey & Chapman, PLLC Photo by Don Feenerty/Feenerty Photography. BY KATLIN SWISHER. Patrick Casey and Sandra Chapman were first-year law students at West Virginia University (WVU) College of Law in the early 1980s when they met. “As Patrick tells it, he sat in the back of the classroom, and I sat in the front,” says Chapman. “He wore jeans, and I dressed up. To this day we continue to have different approaches to our practice.” Their firm, Casey & Chapman, PLLC, was a dream many years in the making. After nearly 30 years of practicing at other firms, the married couple took a leap of faith and opened their own lit- igation practice in Wheeling, WV, in 2011. In addition to handling a variety of types of cases, they share the day-to-day responsibilities of business ownership. Casey oversees facilities management, information technology, billing, finance and accounting while Chapman handles business related to infrastructure, person- nel, marketing and fee collections. “The decision to start our own firm arose out of a desire for control and inde- pendence from the constraints of mono- lithic, lock-step law firms,” says Casey. “We wanted to represent clients our own way, and we wanted to innovate with technology. The growth has been rapid. Within two years we were able to purchase a great building in downtown Wheeling across from the federal courthouse, and we have diversified the practice.” Practice diversification and professional satisfaction have been achieved over the years by choosing the right cases: med- ical malpractice, long-term health care, employment discrimination, product 94 WEST VIRGINIA EXECUTIVE liability, insurance coverage, education, energy-related litigation, estate litigation and motor vehicle accidents on both the defense and plaintiff sides. While Casey and Chapman share a commitment to practicing law in a way that achieves the best outcomes for their clients, their individual strengths and interests allow them to have an impact on their community and their neighbors. For Chapman, that has meant getting involved in education, the arts and the bar association. A fierce advocate for K-12 and higher education, Chapman was appointed to the West Virginia Board of Education by Governor Gaston Caperton, where she completed a nine-year term. She also served on the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission and the West Virginia School Building Author- ity. She was appointed to West Liberty University’s board of governors by Gov- ernor Earl Ray Tomblin in 2013. “While serving the state board of education, we rotated around the state for meeting locations, and I learned there is a dividing line in the state—all of the regions think differently and process information differently. It was very enlightening,” she says. “Thanks to that involvement, I ac- quired an excellent understanding of board roles versus staff roles and how those roles are supposed to work together. More than anything, my involvement in education has taught me about the state and state government, and it inspired me to broad- en my involvement, leading me to accept additional board positions.” Chapman is also committed to the legal profession and has led in various administrative, advisory and mentorship roles, including service on the executive council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents. She served on the advisory committee to the governor pertaining to judicial appointments and on the Inde- pendent Commission on Judicial Reform under Governor Joe Manchin. The work of the commission led to analysis and consideration of significant changes to the selection of judges, judicial campaign finance and the administration of justice in West Virginia. “The commission received and consid- ered information and material from the National Center for State Courts and from many other studies and applications that might fit our state,” she says. “Delibera- tions were positive and all with common goals, including improving the judicial system and the perception of the judicial system. Once the commission members received various research and comments, a success was informing others about other states’ perspectives, various op- tions, what to consider, what might be improved and what time frames would be necessary. It is easy to be critical of the