Accounting and law serve as the foundation of Charles E. English’s legal career. A founding partner of ELPO Law, he advises businesses and individuals on legal and financial matters on a daily basis, and finds accounting, which was his undergraduate major, almost equally as useful as his law degree. “I use my accounting and tax knowledge every day in my work,” Charles English said. “I find the financial principles taught in accounting essential in business and estate and probate work. Selecting accounting as my major was one of the best choices I made concerning my education.”
Charles’ primary areas of practice are business law, including banking, business and estate litigation, business formation and condemnation. He also handles cases concerning universities and foundations, and regularly manages probate, trusts and estate cases.
Among the most notable business cases he’s handled was acting as corporate counsel in the formation, organization, financing, construction and joint venturing of a large ethanol manufacturing facility with a Fortune 500 company.
He served as local counsel for Fruit of the Loom Inc. in federal court in various shareholder derivative actions against the company’s board of directors and officers, successfully defending Fruit of the Loom. He won a case for the Kentucky Association of Counties Insurance Trust, which sued attorneys for mismanagement and conflict of interest.
A substantial portion of his practice is devoted to litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. He successfully represented Western Kentucky University’s Student Life Foundation, establishing in the Kentucky Supreme Court the foundation’s immunity in a claim against it for the rape and murder of a student in a dorm owned by the foundation. He also represented the Simpson County Water District in a case decided by the Kentucky Supreme Court establishing the public service commissions’ jurisdiction over municipalities in contracts with water districts.
Charles returned to Bowling Green after earning his law degree from the University of Kentucky. He was strongly encouraged to return by a call from his former debate coach, who was working for Western Kentucky University. The coach, Ray Cravens, asked him to come back to Bowling Green and serve as the assistant coach for Western’s debate team. He did so, and also taught accounting, business law and communication at Western and practiced law, staying on Western’s faculty until 1999. “Teaching is a wonderful experience,” Charles said. “You learn more than you teach. You review and relearn the principles of accounting as you teach, and keep up with changes in the law and cases as textbooks are updated and you read to keep up with your students.”
He’s still in a teaching role today as he helps shepherd the next generation of attorneys working for ELPO. He likes to keep his door open and be available for questions, should any arise. He also finds that he learns from them as well. “They’re bright and they know a lot,” he said. “They know a lot more than I did at that stage. It’s an evolution in society.”
Charles’ leadership roles extend into his profession. He is a member of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) Board of Governors and serves on its finance committee. He is a former member of the ABA’s House of Delegates and the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. He serves on the Kentucky Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Committee and is also a member of Kentucky’s Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee. He is a life member of the Judicial Conference for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Charles is a past President of the Kentucky Bar Association.
Charles received the Kentucky Bar Association’s Outstanding Lawyer Award in 1999. He was named to the University of Kentucky College of Law Hall of Fame in 2004. He served as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and served on the board of the Kentucky Historical Society. He is frequently invited to speak to various professional, business and civic organizations. His son, Charles E. English Jr. (Buzz), also practices law at ELPO and has served as President of the Kentucky Bar Association.
Phi Delta Phi; Beta Alpha Psi; Tau Kappa Alpha. Member: Board of Editors, Kentucky Law Journal, 1959-1960; University of Kentucky College of Law Visiting Committee, 1998—; University of Kentucky College of Law Hall of Fame, 2003; Board of Directors, 1990-1996 and Vice-President, 1994-1996, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Listed, Best Lawyers in America, 2006 - 2011; Kentucky Super Lawyers, 2007 - 2011.
American College of Trial Lawyers (State Chair, 1990-1991); American Bar Foundation; American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.