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HB article from Issue 36


									                       H          E         R   I   T A G   E
 (Inset) Huddleston Bolen power brokers
 Eustace Gibson and Herbert Fitzpatrick.
 (Below) Some of the current managing
 partners assembled in the Huntington of-
 fice. From left: Tom Murray, Richard
 Bolen, Fred Adkins and Bruce Stout.

 C o l l i s P. H u n t i n g t o n ’s

Huddleston Bolen’s heritage can be traced back to the city’s roots
           number of Huntington’s businesses have long, distinguished histories but how many can trace their origins directly to
           Collis P. Huntington? Huddleston, Bolen, Beatty, Porter & Copen, Huntington’s oldest and largest law firm, joins the C&O
           Railway and a scant few others as the oldest continuous business in the city, a distinction which goes back to 1871, the year
the city was officially chartered by the West Virginia Legislature. That same year saw the arrival in Huntington of Eustace Gibson, a
talented Virginia lawyer and former Confederate captain, who had been summoned by Collis P. Huntington to handle the legal affairs
of his Chesapeake & Ohio Railway in the new town the rail tycoon was building to serve as the western terminus of the railroad on
the banks of the Ohio River.
    Huddleston, Bolen, Beatty, Porter & Copen is the direct descendant of the legal practice Gibson established. And today, 128 years
and more than a dozen name changes later, the firm still represents the C&O’s successor, CSX Transportation, in what is the longest
continuing law firm/client relationship in West Virginia’s legal history. But the firm’s status in the legal community has grown far
beyond that of the “railroad’s firm.” Today Huddleston Bolen is a modern law firm housed in a four story building on the corner of
Seventh Street and Third Avenue in downtown Huntington. “We bought the building in 1988”, notes Tom Gilpin, the

                                               by JAMES E. CASTO
For years we have been providing
law service, while working hard t
                                                                                                                          (Left) Jim Turner carries
                                                                                                                          on a long standing tra-
                                                                                                                          dition of defending the
                                                                                                                          railroad industry. The
                                                                                                                          firm has represented the
                                                                                                                          C&O Railroad (now
                                                                                                                          CSX Transportation)
                                                                                                                          since 1871. (Below) At-
                                                                                                                          torney Melissa Foster
                                                                                                                          questions a witness re-
                                                                                                                          garding a railroad acci-

    firm’s managing partner. “It was formerly the headquarters of the   next year his fellow
    Buckeye Insurance Company and when they moved out, we saw           House members
    the opportunity to accommodate our growth and move from our         elected him
    cramped building at Sixth Avenue and Tenth Street. We spent         Speaker. He later
    several months redesigning the building and renovating it to        served two terms
    serve as a state-of-the-art law office. We moved in June of 1989    (1883-87)       in the
    and have continued to make improvements to meet the technol-        U.S. House of Rep-
    ogy demands of our clients.” But while investing in technology      resentatives. In his
    makes sense in this age of rapid change, the partners of Huddle-    Cabell County An-
    ston Bolen also realize that the lawyers who comprise the firm’s    nals and Families,
    rich history also account for its longstanding success.             the late George
       For almost one hundred and thirty years, the law firm has        Wallace described
    given the community many of its leading citizens, starting with     Gibson as “an un-
    Eustace Gibson and continuing up to the present day. Born in        usual character.”
    Culpepper County, Va. in 1842, Gibson had just started his law      That, judging from
                                                                        some of his re-

our clients with top-quality                                            ported exploits, was
                                                                        a masterpiece of un-
                                                                        derstatement. In
to improve the community.                                               one heated political
                                                                        campaign, when his
— Richard J. Bolen, partner                                             war record was questioned, he showed up at a public meeting to
                                                                        exhibit an old gray pair of uniform trousers. The front of the
                                                                        trousers — along with part of his belly — had been shot away by
    practice when the Civil War erupted. He enlisted in the Con-        a cannon ball. Originally, Gibson practiced law on his own; later,
    federate Army and rose to the rank of captain before being forced   he partnered with Henry C. Simms. Gibson died in 1900.
    to retire after being wounded in action. Arriving in Huntington        The name Enslow has been a familiar one in Huntington since
    in answer to Collis P. Huntington’s summons, Gibson immedi-         1871, when railroad contractor Andrew Jackson Enslow arrived
    ately threw himself into the affairs of the new town. On January    to help build the C&O. His son, Frank B. Enslow, grew up in
    29, 1873, when ceremonies were held here welcoming the first        Huntington, married here and entered the practice of law with
    C&O train to arrive from Richmond, it was Gibson who presided       Gibson’s former partner, Simms. In addition to his law practice,
    as master of ceremonies. Active in politics, Gibson was elected     Frank B. Enslow, who died in 1917, had extensive business in-
    to the House of Delegates from Cabell County in 1876 and the        terests in oil and gas, banking and other fields. Local legend cred-
its him with being the city’s first millionaire. Certainly his opu-         The firm’s modern, up-to-date collection of nearly 30,000
lent 26-room mansion in the 1300 block of 3rd Avenue, with its          volumes is the largest private law library in West Virginia. In this
marble fireplaces, Tiffany chandeliers and stained-glass windows,       collection are hundreds of antique volumes dating back to the
was a local showplace.                                                  1870s. “We’ve resisted the trend among law firms of getting rid
    During his amazingly full lifetime Herbert Fitzpatrick (1872-       of bound volumes and replacing them with computers,” said
1962), was both a partner in the law firm and a corporate officer       partner Jim Turner, a trial lawyer in the litigation group who
of the C&O. After joining the firm, he quickly found himself            specializes in railroad and toxic tort cases.
busy in courtrooms all over West Virginia and before long his               The firm’s current roster of clients, in addition to CSX Trans-
impressive skills as a trial lawyer attracted the attention of the      portation and The Greenbrier, includes Norfolk Southern Cor-
C&O which in 1895 designated him as its state counsel. Fitz-            poration, Amtrak, Bank One West Virginia, Genesis Affiliated
patrick’s rise after he joined the C&O was meteoric. He became          Health Services, Champion Industries, Ashland Inc., Marathon
its vice president and general counsel in 1923 and served as the        Ashland Petroleum, Exxon, Navistar, General Electric, BASF,
C&O’s chairman of the board from 1937 to 1940, when he re-              Western Pocahontas Properties Ltd., Corbin Ltd., and 3M.
tired from the railroad and returned to practice with the firm.         With its work for CSX and Norfolk Southern, the firm main-
    In 1955, the lifelong bachelor donated the hillside property        tains its close ties to the transportation industry. “We have the
on McCoy Road where Huntington Galleries (now the Hunt-                 largest railroad practice in the country,” says Marc Williams, a
ington Museum of Art) was built, and later he gave the museum           partner who has done work for both railroads, in addition to local
an extensive collection of English silver and Middle Eastern art.       companies like Ashland Inc. and BASF. “But our firm is so much
    Douglas Walter Brown practiced law in the Mingo County              more than that,” he notes. “Our litigation practice spans three
coalfields before coming to Huntington and joining the firm in          states and a myriad of areas from mass torts to product liability
1919. One of the leading lawyers in the state, he served as pres-       to chemical exposure cases to professional malpractice defense.”
ident of the Cabell County Bar Association and the West Vir-            The unqualified respect of other lawyers in the region is noted
ginia Bar Association. His son, Walter Brown, a Rhodes Scholar,         by the firm’s “A” rating in Martindale-Hubbell, the nation’s pre-
also joined the firm but left in 1941 to become general counsel         mier legal directory, and its listing in Best’s Dictionary of Recom-
and vice president of Western Electric.                                 mended Insurance Attorneys.
    Harvard graduate and noted banking and real estate lawyer               In recent years, the firm has been called upon to represent
Jackson N. Huddleston (1908-1977) represented numerous                  some of the areas most respected businesses and individuals in
Huntington families and businesses and was a personal friend of         their times of need and growth. Partner Tom Murray has repre-
former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell.                         sented Bank One and Champion Industries in their expansions
    Amos A. Bolen (1909-1996) made his mark in many fields.             from local companies to regional heavyweights. As a conse-
Long-time counsel for the C&O and The Greenbrier, he served             quence, Murray has been recognized in the book Best Lawyers in
as president of the West Virginia Board of Regents and was a Phi        America for his expertise in banking law. Likewise, partners Marc
Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Washington               Williams and Robert Massie were instrumental in navigating
& Lee College and School of Law. He was an All-American on              Ashland Oil through the Catlettsburg Refinery Litigation in the
the football team at W&L and in 1958 was named to Sports Il-            early and mid 1990s. Williams and Massie are doing the same
lustrated’s Silver Anniversary All-America team. Today, his son,        for CSX Transportation in defending the lawsuits arising from
Richard J. Bolen is a partner in the firm.                              the 1997 Scary Creek train derailment.
    William Beatty (1925-1994) served as president of both the              Today, the firm’s remarkable heritage of public service con-
West Virginia Bar Association and the West Virginia State Bar.          tinues. Bolen, a former chairman of the Huntington Regional
His academic achievements at Washington & Lee have not been             Chamber of Commerce, played an instrumental role in the for-
surpassed since his graduation from that law school. A nationally       mation of the Huntington Area Development Council and
renowned railroad and labor lawyer, he argued one of the semi-          served as its first chairman. Noel C. Copen specializes in bank-
nal labor cases of “The Steelworkers Trilogy” before the United         ing, trusts, tax, will and estates and is one of only a handful of
States Supreme Court. Beatty also was a noted expert on the First       West Virginia lawyers chosen as a member of the exclusive
Amendment and represented The Herald-Dispatch for many years.           American College of Trusts & Estates. He is also a very active
    No discussion of the firm would be complete without noting          supporter of Marshall University and has served on the Board of
partner A. Michael Perry, a specialist in banking, mergers and          the Marshall University Foundation. Firm managing partner
acquisitions, who left the firm to join one of its largest clients as   Tom Gilpin is Chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of West Vir-
president and CEO of the First Huntington National Bank, then           ginia. Partner R. Kemp Morton is past president of the United
Key Centurion, and later Bank One West Virginia. Today, he’s            Way of the River Cities, past president of the West Virginia State
wearing yet another hat, that of interim president of Marshall          Bar and past chairman of the state Lawyer Disciplinary Board.
University.                                                             Retired name partner James O. Porter has served as president of
    Today, the firm consists of more than 40 lawyers, has a staff of    the Marshall University Alumni Association, the Marshall Foun-
over 100 and maintains offices not just in Huntington, but also         dation and the West Virginia State Bar. Partner Fred Adkins was
in Charleston and Ashland, Ky.                                          the founder and first President of the Defense Trial Counsel of
    The firm’s partners and associates engage in a broad practice,      West Virginia and recently completed a term as President of the
with emphasis in litigation, corporate, banking, tax, estate plan-      National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel. Partner Bruce
ning, probate, labor and employment, environmental, real estate,        Stout is the youngest lawyer ever to be selected for membership
insurance and mineral law.                                              in the prestigious American College of Probate Counsel. Stout
is also on the boards of the Huntington Museum of Art, the Ca-
bell Huntington Hospital Foundation and the Friends of the Ca-
bell County Public Library. Tom Murray has served as Chairman
of the Marshall Artist Series as well as on the Board of the United
Way of the River Cities. Two of the firm’s former partners joined
then West Virginia Governor Gaston Caperton’s administration
as Tax Commissioner and Chief of Staff. The firm has also been
recognized by the West Virginia Pro Bono Referral Project for its
commitment to providing free legal services to indigent clients in
the area.
    The list of contributions to the community by members of the
firm, partners and associates alike, goes on and on.
    What, one wonders, will the 21st Century mean for Hunt-
ington’s oldest law firm? “For years,” says Bolen, “we have been
providing our clients with top-quality law service, while working
hard to improve the community. And we intend to keep right on
doing that.”

James E. Casto is associate editor of The Herald-Dispatch.

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