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Tomblin appoints Martinsburg attorney as circuit judge

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A Martinsburg attorney will serve as the Eastern Panhandle's newest judge, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office announced Nov. 16.

Michael Douglas Lorensen, a partner at Bowles Rice in Martinsburg, will fill the vacancy in the 23rd Judicial Circuit, which covers Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.

"I'm excited. This is something that I have worked for," Lorensen said, noting he ran for the office in 2008 and narrowly lost to Circuit Judge John Yoder. "I am honored by the governor's trust and I intend to fulfill that." 

The vacancy was created when President Barack Obama nominated then Circuit Judge Gina Marie Groh to serve on the federal bench. Groh, a Charles Town resident, was appointed in 2006 to the 23rd Judicial Circuit and elected in 2008 to serve a full term.

The U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination to the district court for the Northern District in March in a 95-2 vote.

"Judge Groh's exceptional professionalism is well respected, and I believe Michael will continue her legacy at the 23rd Judicial Circuit," Tomblin said in a news release. "Michael's extensive legal and professional background as well as community service will serve the people of Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties well in his new role as judge."

According to a news release, Lorensen started his career at the Dominion Post newspaper in Morgantown before earning his doctor of jurisprudence degree at West Virginia University.

Since then, Lorensen has served as a law clerk in the Southern District federal court, and he has served on the West Virginia Judicial Hearing Board.