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Name and title: Carte Goodwin, general counsel to West Virginia Governor Joseph A. Manchin. Age: 34 Almost heaven: Goodwin is the top lawyer to the governor of the 37th most populous state. All of the directors of state departments are appointed by the governor. Manchin, elected in 2004 as the 34th governor of the Mountain State, has made education and economic development his priorities. He has engaged in battles with the state’s coal industry over taxation and miner safety. The state runs a $3.9 billion budget and has roughly 30,000 employees. The state capital is Charleston. Legal department and outside counsel: Goodwin has one deputy working for him directly and attorneys from state government departments who report to him daily. He and his deputy draft Manchin’s legislative proposals for the Legislature. “I consult daily with lawyers in all the various cabinet departments and state agencies about legislation affecting their departments — any pending litigation they may have, regulatory and enforcement, personnel issues. Sometimes we get involved in Freedom of Information Act requests directed to individual agencies,” Goodwin said. “The governor is very hands-on. He takes a very active role in managing the government. When a legal issue rises to the governor’s attention, he wants to acquire a comfort level. That frequently requires me to get heavily involved.” The state typically handles legal problems through the attorney general’s office, but has retained Washington-based Hogan & Hartson and Bailey & Wyant of Charleston to litigate specific cases. “You might be surprised at the number of cases and types of cases in which the governor for some reason is included as a named defendant,” Goodwin said. Additionally, “we get heavily involved in litigation that affects the whole state government, but in which the governor might not be a named party. We use outside counsel for that, but we review the briefs, argument preparation, strategy sessions and the like.” Daily duties: Screening legislation, litigation, policy and candidates for judgeships, cabinet posts and hundreds of lesser positions, paid and unpaid, makes for long days every day. “It is all very fluid and dependent upon the governor’s schedule. When you serve at the pleasure of the guy who won statewide election, you have to be flexible,” Goodwin said. Although every state judge, from the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to local magistrates, is elected, the governor selects replacements to fill the unexpired terms of jurists who leave the bench. “We’ve had five or six judicial vacancies,” Goodwin said. “The governor enters an executive order establishing an advisory counsel, which I chair, to interview candidates and ultimately make recommendations to him. They fill out the unexpired term and have to stand for election.” The balloting is conducted on a partisan basis. “Between cabinet positions, public service commissioners and all the unpaid boards and commissions — of which there are hundreds — appointments were a very significant part of my daily duties during the first year or so of the administration,” Goodwin said. “It’s slowed to a much more manageable pace, but terms are always expiring and folks are leaving for whatever reasons.” Goodwin reviews the governor’s policies for their legal ramifications and sits in during meetings with senior staff running state agencies. “Quite typically, I will spend eight or nine hours in meetings with him, answering the phones, running a dozen meetings, then run home and take a break for dinner, kiss my wife and son, and come back here and try to do some legal work.” In addition to his duties in the governor’s office, Goodwin is chairman of the state’s School Building Authority and a member of its Consolidated Retirement Board. “It can be daunting sometimes, but it’s certainly an honor.” Route to present position: Goodwin graduated in 1996 from Marietta College, in Ohio, with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy (but remains an ardent supporter of the West Virginia University Mountaineers athletic program). Following his graduation from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta in 1999, he returned to West Virginia to clerk for Judge Robert B. King of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Charleston. Goodwin then entered the family law practice, Goodwin & Goodwin. His grandfather, Bob Goodwin, and uncle, Bert Goodwin, founded the practice in Ripley, W.Va., following World War II. The firm lasted just a few years, until Bob Goodwin’s death in 1952, but was relaunched when Goodwin’s father, Stephen Goodwin, and his uncles, Tom and Joe Bob Goodwin, graduated from law school in the early 1970s. Their primary office is in the state capital, but they maintain the original office a block from the Jackson County Courthouse in Ripley. “I grew up with the law,” Goodwin said. “My granddad was a lawyer in a small town and with that carried a lot of responsibility. He was a counselor and a friend to all the folks. My dad certainly inherited that. It was just expected.” These days, “the law is becoming increasingly specialized, but growing up around it as I did, I’ve always aspired to be just a lawyer, one without a prefix — whether it be plaintiffs lawyer, defense lawyer, bond lawyer, coal lawyer, whatever.” The family practice allowed that level of freedom. “I did some bond litigation; a lot of antitrust litigation, defending lawsuits brought by our state’s attorney general; oil and gas work; transactional work, which I found very challenging; limited trademark and intellectual property work, which was also very fascinating. A little bit of criminal work.” Goodwin joined Manchin’s campaign for governor in 2003 and served as counsel to his transition team before accepting an offer to become general counsel. Personal: Coincidentally but happily for Goodwin, he bought a house across the street from the state capitol the year before he took the job with the governor. Otherwise, he said, there is no telling when he’d see his wife, Rochelle, and son, Wes, 2 1/2. “I am busier now than I ever have been,” Goodwin said. “I spend every free minute with my wife and son, with an occasional break to work out or watch my beloved Mountaineers.” Last book and movie: “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA,” by Tim Weiner; and “Semi-Pro,” which Goodwin watched at home.

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