Conversation with WV Chief Justice Beth Walker
February 27, 2019
Chief Justice Elizabeth “Beth” D. Walker was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia on May 10, 2016, becoming the first Justice elected in a non-partisan race. She took office on January 1, 2017.
Justice Walker was raised in Huron, Ohio. She is a 1987 summa cum laude graduate of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. She earned her law degree in 1990 from The Ohio State University, where she was Articles Editor for The Ohio State Law Journal. During her years of private practice, she participated in courses offered by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, including its Mediation Workshop.
Immediately after graduating from law school, Justice Walker moved to West Virginia and joined the law firm of Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love (now Bowles Rice) in Charleston. During her twenty–two years at Bowles Rice, she concentrated her statewide practice on labor and employment law and mediation. Justice Walker served on the firm’s Executive Committee and in several other leadership roles.
After moving from Charleston to Morgantown in 2011, Justice Walker became Associate General Counsel for the West Virginia United Health System (also known as West Virginia University Medicine). In that role, she advised WVU Medicine’s hospitals and other affiliates regarding labor and employment matters from 2012 until she resigned in 2016 to take office.
In 2012, Justice Walker was elected a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. She is a 1999 graduate of Leadership West Virginia.
A lifelong Girl Scout, Justice Walker is former chairwoman and current member of the board of directors of Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council. She has been an active community volunteer and served as chairwoman of the boards of Leadership West Virginia and Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center.
She is married to Mike Walker and stepmother to Jennifer. They live in Charleston.