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CHARLESTON — Widely respected Charleston lawyer Sean McGinley was killed Thursday afternoon in an Interstate 79 crash.

Returning from a hearing in Morgantown, McGinley was traveling slightly past 5 p.m. near the Frametown exit in Braxton County, roughly 55 miles northeast of Charleston, where the crash happened.

He long had served as counsel to The Charleston Gazette and later the Gazette-Mail during a legal career spanning 30 years. He was a partner at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress PLLC in Charleston.

“Sean was a brilliant lawyer,” law partner Tim DiPiero said. “Just amazingly talented. Had a keen sense of right and wrong and seeking justice. He would always improve any draft of writing I did. He could always make it better. He was incredible at research and writing and just had a way with words.

“What’s more important than all that is that he loved his family and was a great family man.”

Word of his loss sent shockwaves through the legal community and among clients and many others throughout Charleston and across West Virginia.

“This is devastating news for everyone who knew Sean as an outstanding lawyer, a great friend and devoted husband and father,” said Doug Reynolds, managing partner of HD Media, publisher of the Gazette-Mail and Herald-Dispatch in Huntington. “His long association with the Charleston Gazette-Mail was based not only on his great skill as a lawyer but on the friendship he formed with all those with whom he worked, not only the leadership of our company but also many of our journalists now and over the years.

“We send our deepest condolences to his family, his law partners and all of the many people whose lives he touched.”

McGinley received his law degree from Keble College at Oxford University in 1990. He joined DiTrapano & Jackson in 1995 after serving as a law clerk in the state Supreme Court of Appeals and in U.S. District Court.

McGinley grew to become a highly respected personal injury lawyer. He also worked with many media companies on cases regarding the First Amendment and other issues.

He lived in Charleston with his wife, Ana, and their two sons Liam and Colin.

“It’s hard for me to grasp that he’s gone,” DiPiero said.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Reach Jared Serre at or on Twitter at @JaredSerre.

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