Alumna Named Chief Justice for the West Virginia Supreme Court

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

The Honorable Robin Jean Davis, 1978 West Virginia Wesleyan College graduate, has been named Chief Justice for the West Virginia Supreme Court for 2014. Reelected to a 12-year term in 2012, Justice Davis has served as chief justice five other times. She will be the first justice to serve in this role six times since the court was reorganized in 1974.

Justice Davis, a Boone County native, received an Honorary Doctor of Laws during the 2013 Homecoming Founders Day service. She earned a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1978 and her master’s degree and law degree from West Virginia University in 1982.  From 1982 until 1996, Justice Davis worked at Segal and Davis, L.C., a six-person law firm where she concentrated in the field of employee benefits and domestic relations.  In 1993, she became the first lawyer in West Virginia to be inducted into the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

In 1991, Justice Davis was appointed by the West Virginia state Supreme Court of Appeals to the West Virginia Board of Law Examiners, on which she served until her election to the West Virginia state Supreme Court in 1996.  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 modernize and comprehensively change the appellate process in West Virginia to provide a decision on the merits in every case.  The Court also approved new Rules of Juvenile Procedure in 2010 under Justice Davis’ appointment.

Justice Davis is currently the West Virginia state Supreme Court’s designee to the Judiciary’s Initiative on Truancy and has held more than a dozen public meetings to encourage collaborate community truancy programs.  In her previous work, she initiated a number of programs that have proven to be vital to the Court’s continuing work with children and families including the Workers’ Compensation Mediation Program, the expansion of parent education programs, Rules on Mass Litigation, the expansion of courtroom technology, the creation of the West Virginia Trial Court Rules, the establishment of an online child Abuse and Neglect database, and additions to legal rules governing child abuse and neglect proceedings.

In 2000, Justice Davis received the Distinguished West Virginian Award from then-Governor Cecil H. Underwood.  In 2008, she received the Graduate of Distinction Award from the West Virginia Education Alliance.  She is also the author of several West Virginia Law Review articles, including “A Tribute to Franklin D. Cleckley: A Compendium of Essential Legal Principles from his Opinions as a Justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals;” “A Tribute to Thomas E. McHugh: An Encyclopedia of Legal Principles from his Opinions as a Justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals;” and “An Analysis of the Development of Admitting Expert Testimony in Federal Courts and the Impact of that Development on West Virginia Jurisprudence.”

Justice Davis is married to Scott Segal, with whom she has one son, Oliver.