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Nick Casey is American Bar Association treasurer-elect

Nick Casey, Charleston lawyer and political activist, has been elected treasurer-elect of the American Bar Association.

The association's 650-person House of Delegates elected Casey on Sunday during the ABA's Midyear Meeting in Dallas, Texas.

The ABA has 392,434 members. It is one of the world's largest voluntary professional membership organizations. It serves as the national voice of the legal profession.

In a phone interview Thursday from Washington, D.C., Casey said that beginning in August he will serve one year as treasurer-elect, working with the ABA's current treasurer. Then he will serve a three-year term.

The ABA has a $203 million annual budget and $324 million in assets. It is headquartered in Chicago and has offices in Washington, D.C.

"It's an interesting job and I am looking forward to it," Casey said. "It is a substantial undertaking. I'm pleased that a smaller-town person in West Virginia would be able to get the position from my colleagues at the ABA.

"My name will appear on the bottom of all of the ABA's checks, from payroll checks to rent checks and even checks used to buy law books that the ABA is sending to former socialist republics."

While the ABA's full-time staff will be running day-to-day operations, Casey will be the lead person in developing the annual budget and formulating long-term budget plans. Casey said one of the planks he ran on was more long-range planning.

He also will chair several ABA committees, including the investment and pension committees.

"Working with the current treasurer, he tells me this is about a two-day-a-week activity," Casey said. "But I'll have seven days to work with. That's because the ABA often has meetings that begin, say, on Friday and end on Saturday. So that would take one workweek day."

Casey continues to practice with the Charleston law firm Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins. He is a certified public accountant.

Even though the ABA frequently uses technology like Skype for meetings, Casey figures he is going to accumulate a lot of frequent-flyer miles.

Asked if his wife of 37 years, Mary ("the most patient, wonderful person") is OK with his workload spilling into weekends, Casey said, "Having practiced law all of these years and having courts and others control much of my time, she's very experienced with this."

Casey said Mary asked if she needed to go to Dallas with him last weekend. He said no, his campaign for treasurer had pretty much wrapped up by the time ABA delegates met Sunday. "But on my next trip to New York, I suspect she'll be with me," he said. "Our kids are grown, so I'm footloose in that regard."

When U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito announced late last year that she will run for U.S. Senate in 2014, Casey said the U.S. House seat Capito will vacate looked interesting.

Asked Thursday if he is still considering running for Congress, Casey said, "It is a very interesting development. People are starting to firm up a little bit. And with the Legislature in town, there's a lot of talk about it. It remains very interesting."

Casey was state Democratic Party Chairman from mid-2004 to 2010.

Being both an officer in the ABA and an elected political leader wouldn't be unusual, he said. For example, a former ABA secretary, while in office, was elected attorney general of Oregon.  

Asked if being treasurer-elect puts him on track to eventually become ABA president, Casey said the organization does not have a formal succession plan but several treasurers have indeed gone on to lead the organization.

"I'm going to have to run through budgets totaling $600 million or so over the next several years," he said. "I ran for this job. I have every expectation this job will test me. Eventually I might have that opportunity but I am not looking that far out."

Casey said Clarence E. Martin of Martinsburg is the only West Virginian to ever serve as president of the ABA. Martin filled the role in 1932-33. Martin's grandson, Clarence "CEM" Martin, currently heads the Martinsburg law firm Martin & Seibert.

"The ABA is a great organization for lawyers to participate in," Casey said. "You get to deal with some of the true giants in the profession as well as some giants in the political and business worlds. I've met the managing member of the San Francisco Giants. I've met Bill Gates' dad. And you get to meet some international folks.

"Younger lawyer can go to a meeting, get some education, and meet someone from, say, Columbus, who can assist them and maybe feel comfortable enough to recommend a client. It's a real positive opportunity for a lawyer to get services and professional development."

Casey said when he is at ABA meetings and it is appropriate he promotes the state by wearing a West Virginia baseball cap and when there is an opportunity he wears a West Virginia shirt. "I'm easy to spot," he said. "I'll fly the colors." Contact writer George Hohmann at business@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.


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