Although Judge John G. Berry soon will be appearing in Allen & Allen TV commercials, right now, the marketing-savvy firm has no photos of its high-profile new hire.
Jack Berry came off the bench as quarterback for Washington & Lee, and he's coming off the bench again, this time to play for Allen & Allen.
COURTESY WASHINGTON & LEE
The chief judge of the 16th Judicial Circuit of Virginia, which includes Albemarle and Charlottesville, has been hired as managing partner for the Charlottesville office of Virginia's largest personal injury firm.
John G. "Jack" Berry, presiding judge for Culpeper and Fluvanna circuit courts, goes to work February 1 for Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen, whose Charlottesville office has been without a managing partner since Matt Murray resigned in July under a cloud of misconduct allegations and sanctions in the Lester v. Allied Concrete wrongful death lawsuit.
Berry was born in Charlottesville and raised in Madison County. He's been a 16th Circuit Court judge since 2008, and chief judge since 2010. The district also includes Goochland, Louisa, Orange, Greene, and Madison counties. His father, David Berry, was an Albemarle Circuit Court judge.
Jack Berry graduated magna cum laude from Washington & Lee in 1976, where he was a star quarterback and Phi Beta Kappa member, and he received his law degree from UVA in 1979.
It was at law school that Berry met Coleman Allen, the man who would recruit him from the bench more than 30 years later. "It was a difficult decision for him because he enjoyed what he did in the court," says Allen.
"Jack Berry is an outstanding trial lawyer who's respected statewide," says Allen, who's overjoyed that Allen & Allen was able to "hire a trial lawyer with an outstanding reputation for integrity and character as well as legal ability."
Hook legal expert David Heilberg also has known Berry since both were recent law school grads. "Jack's had a great reputation," says Heilberg.
Judgeships are rare enough, so why would Berry leave a position he's only held for four years?
"I would think that's a job you can make more at than as a judge," offers Heilberg. But there are other reasons, too, he points out.
"There's a history of good judges leaving the bench," says Heilberg. "It's not an easy job. It wears them out."
And he wonders, "Who's going to judge my February 6 case?"
Heilberg describes Berry as "the same way people described Matt Murray– well-liked, capable, professional." And he adds, "I'm sorry to lose a good judge like that."