The Justitia Officium is the highest honor bestowed by the law faculty in recognition of outstanding contributions and service to the legal profession. Hicks received his award at WVU Law’s Commencement in Milan Puskar Stadium on May 16.
Hicks was inspired to become an attorney by the lawyers who led the Civil Rights Movement. He spent his first two years of college at Washington and Lee University, where he was the first African American elected to the Executive Committee of the Student Body. He later transferred to West Virginia University, earning his B.A. in 1978 and his J.D. in 1981.
After three years of solo practice, Hicks joined Kay Casto & Chaney in 1984, becoming only the second lawyer of color in West Virginia to be hired by a large firm. Fourteen years later, he became the first African American President of the West Virginia State Bar.
Over the course of his career, Hicks has been a partner in several law firms and earned a reputation as a top litigator in products liability law, employment law and other fields. Today he leads his own mediation and arbitration practice, Hicks Resolutions, in Charleston, West Virginia.
Hicks is a member of several distinguished professional groups, including the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. During his career, he was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel.
His long record of public service includes chairing and serving on the Board of Governors of Concord University and serving as Vice-Chairman of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. He has also served on the boards of the Kanawha County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the Legal Aid Society, the West Virginia Bar Foundation, and the West Virginia Humanities Council, among others.
In 2019, the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Commission presented Mr. Hicks with the Governor’s “Living the Dream” Award for his work as a champion of justice and civil rights.
The Justitia Officium Award was established in 1978 to mark the 100th anniversary of the WVU College of Law. A panel bearing the names of recipients is displayed in the lobby at the law school.