CHARLESTON, W. Va. - The trial lawyers who appear before the West Virginia Supreme Court, as well as the rest of the other state courts, will be calling themselves something different from now on.
The West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association on Friday became seventh trial lawyer group to change its name in the past year and will now be known as the West Virginia Association for Justice.
All seven of the recently changed names contain the words "association" and "justice."
"As trial lawyers, we are advocates of justice who help West Virginians exercise their Constitutional rights in our state and federal courtrooms -- even when taking on the most powerful interests," said Jeff Jones, president of West Virginia Association for Justice.
The wave of changes began on July 1, 2006, when the nationwide American Trial Lawyers Association changed its name to the American Association for Justice.
Later in the year, the Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association and the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers changed their names to the Louisiana Association for Justice and the Florida Justice Association, respectively.
Nevada's group made a similar change on April 1, and Kentucky's officially became the Kentucky Justice Association on Tuesday.
The Alabama Trial Lawyers Association will become the Alabama Association for Justice on June 1 after an April vote approved the change.
North Carolina and Ohio are looking at making the change, too. In 1995, California's and Hawaii's groups became the Consumer Attorneys of California and Consumer Lawyers of Hawaii, respectively.
Jones said West Virginia's change reinforces the state's trial lawyers' dedication to seeking justice.
"The mission of this organization is to fight for justice on behalf of our members' clients and all West Virginians -- both in our courts and at the Statehouse, where there is an unprecedented attack on the Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury led by billion-dollar corporate special interests who want total immunity when they produce dangerous products, put workers in unsafe working conditions, break contracts with our businesses or cheat royalty owners our of their fair royalty payments," Jones said.
"Our previous name, the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, just described who we are. Our new name, West Virginia Association for Justice, is about what we do."