A. L. "Al" Emch
joined the Firm in 1977 after receiving his law degree from the University of Virginia, where he was an editor of the Law Review
and graduated Order of the Coif. His practice has always focused on the representation of defendants in trial and appellate litigation in both state and federal courts, with emphases on personal injury (deliberate intent cases and industrial accidents), product liability (especially aviation), toxic torts, class actions, mass torts and other complex litigation.
He is the former CEO of the Firm, having served from January 1, 2002, to July 1, 2007. Mr. Emch previously held positions as the Administrative Manager of the Litigation Department from 1994 to 1999, a member of the Executive Committee from 1999 through 2001 and its Chair during 2000 and Assistant Managing Member in 2001.
A Student of the Rules, Mr. Emch was a member of the three‑person committee that drafted the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia in 1994 and later chaired the committee that revised the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure from 1996 to 1998. Long a proponent of mediation, in 1987 Mr. Emch, along with then Chief USDCt Judge Robert Maxwell, planned, organized and implemented the first district‑wide mediation program in a United States District Court in the country ‑ a program that continues to this day ‑ and has frequently served as a mediator in matters pending before courts and administrative tribunals since then.
Among other honors, Mr. Emch is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an Associate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a Member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a Fellow of the West Virginia Bar Foundation and a Permanent Member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference. He is listed in the premier legal guides, Woodward/White's The Best Lawyers in America®
(business litigation; personal injury litigation), America's Leading Lawyers
(business litigation), and West Virginia Super Lawyers®
and was one of 176 lawyers nationwide and the only lawyer in West Virginia named to the BTI Client Service All‑Star Team for 2009.
A veteran of Vietnam and the Persian Gulf, Mr. Emch served as a pilot in the United States Air Force and West Virginia Air National Guard for over 23 years, retiring in 1993 with the rank of Lt. Col. A lifelong lover of flying, Mr. Emch is a licensed commercial pilot with nearly 5000 hours of flight time. He often flies the Piper Navajo aircraft owned and operated by the Firm. Mr. Emch obtained a degree in English literature with a minor in history from West Virginia University in 1969.