The state has been sectioned into seven regions, with up to seven judges appointed to hear cases. Mediation will be attempted, but the court will also do jury and bench trials.
Wilkes chaired the committee that studied the business court issue, and he said other states' efforts were examined. Delaware had the first - its Chancery Court is over 200 years old - and in the past 15 years, about 18 other states have added business courts.
"We took the best of those for our state," Wilkes said. "Attorneys that deal in these cases welcome it."
Roberts said he is enthused about the new court but warns it isn't the full answer to rectifying the state's label as a so-called "judicial hellhole."
"This may be a small step, but the judicial hellhole issues are really related to bigger topics. Three of the seven largest verdicts in the country over the past four or five years have originated in West Virginia.
"And West Virginia is the second-to-last state not to guarantee a right to appeal," he said.
The Senate approved an intermediate appeals court, but the House did not take the issue up. Instead, the Supreme Court agreed to hear every request for an appeal and provide more detailed written opinions on why it rejected a case.
"The Chamber is a big supporter of the creation of the business court," Roberts said. "There are legal issues that are unique to employers, and a more specialized court is in a better position to understand and deal with them.
"We hope it keeps West Virginia in the 21st century," he said "It allows us to catch up to other states."
Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at cher...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4832.