Commissioners select Virginia lawyer to be new county attorney

Alamance County’s board of commissioners has tapped a lawyer with extensive professional experience in Virginia to serve as its new county attorney.

During a regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, Debra Bechtel, the county’s interim attorney, announced the board’s selection of F.E. “Tripp” Isenhour, III to serve as Alamance County’s new legal counsel. Bechtel acknowledged that Isenhour’s work as a lawyer has, so far, been localized to Virginia although she added that the incoming county attorney isn’t completely unfamiliar with the Tar Heel State.

“Tripp grew up in the Piedmont area of North Carolina,” she said during Monday’s announcement, “and he looks forward once again to calling North Carolina home.”

Isenhour was still a North Carolina resident when he obtained his undergraduate degree at Guilford College, where he also played varsity football. He went on to earn his law degree from Liberty University in 2008 as part of the second class have graduated from the university’s law school. From there, Isenhour went on to work for the law firm of Caskie & Frost in Lynchburg, Virginia. He has also served as the county attorney for Campbell County, Virginia and as the legal counsel for the town of Brookneal and Virginia University in Lynchburg.

Isenhour was ultimately named to serve as Alamance County’s new county attorney after a five-month selection process that followed the dismissal of the former county attorney Clyde Albright in early October. Since Albright’s departure, the county has relied on Bechtel and other associates with the Winston-Salem based Teague Campbell law firm to provide the county with its legal services.

John Paisley, Jr., the chairman of Alamance County’s commissioners, noted that the county will continue to retain Bechtel and her colleagues even after Isenhour gets settled in his new post as county attorney. Bechtel herself said that she doesn’t expect the transition to begin for at least several months.

“I anticipate that he will most likely start mid summer,” she told the commissioners.

In an interview after Monday’s announcement, commissioner Craig Turner conceded that part of the delay in Isenhour’s arrival has to do with the procedures necessary for the new county attorney to become licensed in North Carolina. Turner, who is himself a lawyer by trade, added that Isenhour should be able to make this transition without having to retake the bar exam.

“He has enough seniority in Virginia that he can apply for reciprocity,” the commissioner explained, “and if North Carolina grants reciprocity, he won’t have to retake the bar.”

Isenhour’s bio on the website for Caskie & Frost describes him as a “quintessential ‘trial lawyer’  who finds himself in a courtroom nearly every day of the week.”

“Tripp has tried cases in nearly every court in the Lynchburg area, and has a broad range of experience in criminal, civil, and domestic litigation,” the online bio continues. “Tripp’s broad and extensive knowledge of interrelated legal topics allows him to provide comprehensive legal advice to address client’s concerns from many perspectives.”

According to the law firm’s website, Isenhour served a stint as the president of Lynchburg’s bar association between 2015 and 2016.