A.L. Emch

Phone: (304) 340-1172 | Fax: (304) 340-1050 | Email: aemch@jacksonkelly.com
500 Lee Street East, Suite 1600, Charleston, WV 25301-3202

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.

Legal Experience
1977 - PresentJackson Kelly PLLC
1977J.D.University of Virginia School of Law
1969B.A.West Virginia University (English Literature)
Bar Admissions
1977West Virginia
Court Admissions
1985U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
1977U.S. District Court, Northern District of West Virginia
1977U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia
Military Experience
1977 - 1993WV Air National Guard - Pilot, Lt. Col. Retired
1969 - 1974 United States Air Force

Professional Involvement:
  • Fellow of the West Virginia Bar Foundation
  • Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (former WV State Chair)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (former WV State Chair)
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
  • Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference (Permanent Member)
  • President, West Virginia Bar Foundation, 2006-2008
  • Board Member, West Virginia Bar Foundation
  • Visiting Committee, WVU College of Law, 1990-1994; and 2004-2008 (Chair 1992-1994 and 2007-2008) 
  • American Bar Association, Section on Litigation
  • West Virginia State Bar, Committee on Judicial Improvement, 1982-1989 (vice chairman 1985-1986; chairman 1985-1989); Board of Governors 1990-1993
  • Kanawha County Bar Association
  • Mediator, U.S. District Courts, Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia; state courts
  • Member, West Virginia Law Institute, 1989-2008; governing Council 2000-2008
  • Member of WVU College of Law Development Council, 2003-2004
  • Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia, treasurer 1982-1984; vice president 1984-1985; president 1985-1986
  • Member, West Virginia Task Force on Gender Fairness in the Courts and Committee on Implementation; 1993-2006
  • West Virginia Civil Rules Committee (drafting new rules), Chair 1996-1998
  • Committee member and one of three Drafters, Local Rules of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of WV, 1994
  • West Virginia Indigent Defense Task Force, 1999
  • West Virginia University Alumni Association
  • University of Virginia Alumni Association

  • Co-chair of campaign to build new Charleston, WV Ronald McDonald House (2015-2016)
  • West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Board Member and Personnel Committee Chair, 2003-present
  • Charleston Chamber of Commerce and Development, Member
  • The Foundation for Youth and Government, Inc., (Non-Profit Educational Foundation) President/Treasurer 1982-2006
  • First Christian Church, Trustee & Elder
  • West Virginia Region of Christian Church, Trustee 1996-2000
  • PRO-Kids, Inc. (Non-profit Educational), Board Member
  • Legal Aid of West Virginia Campaign, Co-chairman
  • United Way of Kanawha Valley, Lawyer Section Chair

Teaching and Lecturing:
  • Presentation, "The Art of Trial," Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia Seminar, 2015
  • Panel Member, "Professional Courtesy & Collegiality," for WV Bar Association and American Inns of Court, 2015
  • Panel Member, "Protective Orders: Keeping the Opposition out of your Client's Closet," Mid-Winter Seminar for the West Virginia Association for Justice, Feb. 2010
  • Speaker at Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia's Annual Meeting, "Six Degrees of Separation - How the Kevin Bacon Rule Can Make You Proud to be a Lawyer," June 2009
  • Keynote Speaker for the West Virginia Center for Professional Development's Advanced Placement Rising Scholar Dinner, Nov. 2007
  • Co-author, "To Mass or Not to Mass? That is the Question. . .," for the 2006 Mountaineer CLE Series
  • "So, Inspire Me," Address to Outstanding Graduates of Eberly College of Arts and Sciences of West Virginia University, Feb. 2005
  • "Changing West Virginia," Second Annual Leadership Conference at Stonewall Jackson State Park - "Challenge the Process," June 2004
  • IADC Annual Meeting & Seminar, "Medical Monitoring - Money for Nothing in the Mountain State," 2000
  • LAWV Seminar, "Historical Perspective on WV Rules," 1999
  • NBI Seminar, "Class Actions," 1999
  • National Business Institute Seminar, "Insurance Coverage Law in West Virginia," 1994
  • WV CLE Seminar, "Discovery, Motion Practice, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Under the New Local Rules of Civil Procedure of the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia," 1994
  • Presentation at Annual Meeting of West Virginia State Bar, "Major Changes in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure," 1994
  • West Virginia CLE Program, "Cross-examination of a Fact Witness," 1992 and 1993
  • Workshop for Judges of the 5th Judicial Circuit, "Alternative Dispute Resolution," Orlando, FL, 1989
  • Jackson & Kelly Insurance Industry Seminars on West Virginia Law, 1988, 1984, 1983
  • Damages Seminar, WV CLE Program, "A Review of Recent Developments in Damages," 1989
  • National Business Institute Seminar, "Workers' Compensation: Issues and Answers," 1988
  • Bridge the Gap Seminar, WV CLE program, "The Entrance of Defense Counsel and Written Discovery," 1987
  • Mountaineer CLE Series, West Virginia CLE, "Use of Experts," 1986
  • National Lawyers Guild, Law Awareness Day, "The Corporate Attorney and Pro Bono Work," 1986
  • State Bar Regional CLE Program, "Update on Decisions of Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia," 1984-1987
  • Panel member, West Virginia Bar Association
  • Panel member, Kanawha County Bar Association

Writings and Publications:
  • "The Art of Trial," 2015
  • Co-author, "To Mass or Not to Mass? That is the Question. . .," (a paper on mass litigation in West Virginia) for the 2006 Mountaineer CLE Series
  • "Back to the Future," published in West Virginia University: Eberly College Magazine Arts & Sciences, Spring 2007
  • "Leadership Through Introspection," published in Executive Source magazine, Volume I, Fall 2002
  • "Professional Liability of Non-Legal Consultants to Minerals Industry," Proceedings of the Eastern Mineral Law Foundation Eleventh Annual Institute, 1990
  • "Settlement Week Pilot Project Summary and Final Report: Some Thoughts on How to Conduct a Settlement Week," West Virginia Lawyer, May/June 1989
  • "MANDOLIDIS - A Debate Between Plaintiff and Defendant - A View From the Defense," West Virginia State Bar Journal, Spring 1984
  • "Comparative Negligence in West Virginia: A Defense Overview," 82 West Virginia Law Review 493, 1980

Awards and Honors:
  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2016 Charleston, West Virginia, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Listed in the Litigation Section of Super Lawyers® Business Edition for Civil Litigation Defense, 2013-2015
  • Named in the 2012-2017 editions of West Virginia Super Lawyers® for Civil Litigation: Defense Law
  • Named in the Top Ten List of West Virginia Super Lawyers® , 2011-2017
  • Recognized as "Local Litigation Star" in West Virginia Section of Benchmark Litigation, 2008-2018
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® for Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation and Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, 2003-2018
  • BTI Client Services All-Star Team for 2009, only lawyer named in West Virginia
  • Ranked in Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of Litigation: General Commercial Law in West Virginia, 2003-2017
  • Alumni Recognition Award from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences of West Virginia University, 2005
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Order of the Coif
  • West Virginia State Bar Certificate of Merit, 1988, 1986, 1982
  • Exceptional Performance Award, Defense Research Institute, 1986
  • West Virginia Golden Horseshoe Award, 1983
  • One of the Outstanding Young Men of America, 1982
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