Meet Judge Joanna
She began her legal career in 1986 as a personal law clerk to former Supreme Court Justice Thomas E. McHugh. Following her clerkship, she served as an Assistant and then as Deputy Attorney General of the Appellate Division in the Office of the Attorney General from 1989 to 1992 under the administrations of Attorneys General Roger Tompkins and Mario Palumbo. In 1992, Judge Tabit joined the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, where she was a member attorney until October, 2014, when she was appointed to the Kanawha County bench by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. She was elected to the bench in 2016.
Judge Tabit is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell and while in private practice, was recognized by Chambers USA as a Leader in the Field with a specialty in commercial litigation. Additionally, she was recognized by The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers in various practice areas. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the West Virginia Bar Foundation. Judge Tabit has been recognized as a YWCA Women of Achievement, a “Wonder Woman” by WV Living magazine and was a member of the inaugural class of “Lawyers and Leaders” named by West Virginia Executive and the West Virginia University College of Law.
- Acting Supreme Court Justice, California State Teachers’ Retirement System v. Blankenship, No. 14-1339 (May 25, 2018), sitting by special appointment by Chief Justice Workman; and In Re: Callaghan, No. 16-0670 (W. Va. Feb. 9, 2017), sitting by special appointment by Acting Chief Justice McHugh
- Presiding Judge – Kanawha County Juvenile Drug Court 2018
- Member – Business Court2016-present
- Member – Juvenile Justice Commission 2014-present
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, Charleston, West Virginia 1992 – 2014 Member 1997 –2014 Associate 1992 – 1996 Member in 300+ person law firm with emphasis on civil litigation.
- Practiced in state and federal courts in a variety of cases including medical malpractice, serious personal injury, governmental liability, product liability, sexual harassment, civil rights, and employment matters.
- Trained mediator having successfully mediated approximately 100 cases.
- Served as Special Assistant Attorney General representing the Solid Waste Management Board and West Virginia Investment Management Board.
- Researched and prepared petitions, motions, memoranda, and briefs for argument in state and federal trial and appellate courts.
- Presented seminars to clients and attorneys statewide on developments in governmental liability law, general civil litigation, and employment issues.
- Practice group leader for General Litigation Department’s Charleston and Huntington offices, managing 30 attorneys and paraprofessional staff.
West Virginia University College of Law, Morgantown, West Virginia 2012-2013 Adjunct Lecturer – Summer Appellate Advocacy Instructed 2L and 3L students on oral and written appellate advocacy. Office of the Attorney General of West Virginia, Charleston, West Virginia 1989-1992 Deputy Attorney General – Appellate Division 1991-1992 Senior Assistant Attorney General – Appellate Division 1990-1991 Assistant Attorney General – Appellate Division 1989-1990 Administered appellate docket for cases in which State of West Virginia or its agencies were an interested party, personally briefing and arguing approximately 50 cases before state and federal appellate courts.
- Oversaw operation of Appellate Division, supervising two attorneys, one paralegal and one legal secretary.
- Prosecuted criminal and civil appeals on behalf of the State of West Virginia and its agencies.
- Served as special assistant prosecuting attorney in embezzlement case against county prosecutor.
- Represented prosecuting attorneys and state circuit court judges in original jurisdiction proceedings in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.
- Represented the state in federal habeas corpus proceedings in federal district court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
- Served as counsel for the West Virginia Board of Investments.
- Instructed prosecuting attorneys statewide on developments in federal and state criminal law.
Shuman, Annand & Poe, Charleston, West Virginia 1988-1989 Associate Employed in twenty-person firm with emphasis on civil litigation.
- Researched and prepared various petitions, motions, memoranda, and briefs for arguments in state and federal courts.
- Attended hearings and depositions.
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, Charleston, West Virginia 1986-1988 Personal Law Clerk Served as personal law clerk to the Honorable Thomas E. McHugh.
- Reviewed appellate records, conducted preliminary research, and prepared memoranda regarding recommended disposition of cases.
- Discussed memoranda and recommended disposition of cases with Justice McHugh prior to argument.
- Prepared drafts of opinions for Justice McHugh’s review.
- Edited, cite-checked, and proofread final opinions.
- Prepared memoranda regarding petitions for rehearing.
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Committee to Elect Judge Joanna Tabit
P.O. Box 5388
Charleston, WV 25361
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