Alum says B&E degree laid foundation for valuable life experiences
Professionals who earned a degree from the WVU College of Business and Economics (B&E) will tell you that it opened many doors for various career paths, including Ben Ware, an attorney at Goodwin & Goodwin, LLP in Charleston, West Virginia.
A West Virginia native, Ware comes from a family of WVU graduates, saying he really did not consider going to any other universities to earn his undergraduate degree. While at B&E, he majored in economics, graduating in 2002. Afterwards, he continued onto law school at the WVU College of Law, graduating in 2005. These degrees led him to a fulfilling career of helping the people of his home state.
“You don’t really realize it while you are in school, but the theory of economics really helps lay the foundation for law school. It helps develop analytical skills and critical thinking skills needed not only for law school but for the career after,” Ware said.
Ware’s appreciation of economics began while he was in high school when he took a few economics courses.
“It fit with my method of thinking, and I just sort of essentially grasped the concept very well – at least I thought I did at that time. I thought it would be a good fit for long-term pursuits, whether that was going to law school or into some other type of business following graduation,” Ware said. “I think my degree in economics really helped starting with the LSATs and then following with a variety of classes I took in law school. It is very helpful with the everyday practice of law.”
Ware began his law career at Goodwin & Goodwin in 2004 with a summer clerkship in the Charleston office, while he was still in school. After graduation, he had the opportunity to open a small firm with his mentor and colleague, the late Steve Goodwin, in the Morgantown area. Following that venture, Ware operated his own solo practice, allowing him to work in a variety of different practice areas.
“Working with Steve and running my own firm gave me an entirely different set of skills other than simply practicing law,” Ware said. “I think it’s something that many lawyers think about doing – having their own practice – so I was fortunate to gain that experience at a very early stage in my career.”
When Ware was presented with the opportunity to return to Goodwin & Goodwin, he said he could not forgo the chance to once again work at the “The Biggest Small Firm in Town.”
“The environment at Goodwin & Goodwin is something I always really loved. I’ve been back in the Charleston area for five years or so now, and I think it was a great decision for my career and my family,” he said. “We have very bright, very skilled attorneys here that are very serious about the practice of law, but also very serious about family and the other aspects of life that are important.”
Ware said he has mainly focused his practice in civil litigation, but also believes it is important in West Virginia for lawyers to have the ability to practice in many areas of law.
“Any one client can have many different issues that arise that involve various aspects of the law. What’s great about practicing law in West Virginia and in this firm is that there’s always something new,” he said.
Throughout his career, Ware has accomplished several goals and worked on significant cases that ended favorably. One notable piece of work he did was to serve as representation for the sole survivor of the Sago Mine Disaster in claims against various parties for injuries resulting from the mine explosion. He was only two years out of law school at the time.
“It was challenging. In the practice of law, you seem to encounter situations where you’re meeting someone for the first time when they’re in a very difficult set of circumstances,” Ware said. “That particular case involved very significant injuries and a lot of other factors that were very difficult for the family. So there’s a lot more to it than simply courtroom work, and that was something I learned very early on and specifically through that case. We were able to assist the family at that time, which was very rewarding.”
When Ware is not practicing law, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amber, and their two daughters, Ivy and Lucy. He also enjoys Crossfit training, hunting and fishing.
Ware said he values staying in touch with the overall WVU community, as well as B&E and the College of Law. He attends almost every home football game, but he has also served on the WVU College of Law Development Council, which he said was a very rewarding experience.“The experience I had throughout my four years of undergraduate school at B&E really laid the foundation for success in law school and my career after.”