The Times West Virginian

December 1, 2013

Kettering, Delligatti team to open legal practice

By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Kettering Delligatti Law Offices, PLLC knows how to treat people right.

On Aug. 6, Paul Kettering and Matt Delligatti, business partners and owners, opened their new law practice in downtown Fairmont at 234 Adams St., above Classics Cafe. They are getting ready to move to a larger space across the hall from their current office.

Kettering and Delligatti are both Fairmont natives and graduated from Fairmont Senior High School. Kettering was a year ahead of Delligatti in school, but they played a lot of sports together as they were growing up. Kettering is currently an assistant football coach at Fairmont Senior.

Delligatti earned his undergraduate degree in political science, with a minor in sociology and criminology, from West Virginia University. Also at WVU, Kettering obtained a degree in journalism, with a minor in political science and legal studies. They both graduated from WVU’s College of Law in 2011.

Following law school, Delligatti clerked for Federal Judge Irene C. Berger in Beckley for 15 months, and then had the opportunity to clerk with Marion County Circuit Judge Michael Aloi for seven months. Kettering worked in Morgantown for Shuman, McCuskey & Slicer, PLLC, a civil defense firm primarily handling insurance defense cases, for two years.

From January 2009 through December 2010, Delligatti served as the mayor of Fairmont, and he was a member of City Council for the two years prior. He said he always encouraged people to open new businesses in Fairmont when he was in office, and he felt that now was a good time for him to be part of that business growth.

Delligatti and Kettering began talking about starting a law firm together in the city where they both grew up. After living in Morgantown, Kettering moved back to Fairmont, and he said he liked the idea of establishing a business and trying to be involved in the revitalization of the Friendly City.

“It was a real good fit for both of us,” Delligatti said. “Both of us, I think, complement each other very well with having pretty diverse backgrounds to really start a pretty diverse general practice.”

Kettering Delligatti Law Offices offers a variety of legal services to clients across North Central West Virginia. The partners handle both civil matters and criminal cases. They deal with real estate and title work, family law, landlord/tennant cases, general employment law, personal injury cases and more.

“I definitely like the variety of different areas that we’ve been able to practice in,” Delligatti said.

Kettering said while most of their cases are taking place in Marion County right now, they have also done some work in Monongalia, Harrison and Lewis counties.

“We’re still in the process of getting our names out there,” he said. “Right now, what’s most important to us is making sure that we do a good job for our clients. We’ve been blessed ... we’ve been staying busy.”

Being from Fairmont, Kettering and Delligatti have established a lot of beneficial connections. They have also formed positive relationships with some more senior attorneys of the Marion County Bar Association.

“We’ve gained some trust from attorneys who feel comfortable sending some business our way when they can’t take it,” Kettering said.

Plus, they each have big families with a history in business who have been ready to offer advice.

Paul Kettering and his brother Matt Kettering, who recently opened Kettering Investment Strategies LLC, are fourth-generation business owners in Fairmont.

In the early- to mid-1920s, their late great-grandfather, Harry Earl Kettering, started Kettering Baking Co. in Fairmont. Their grandfather, the late James R. Kettering Sr., was also involved in Kettering Baking Co., as well as their father, Jim Kettering, who later became an Edward Jones broker.

“When you have some people that have been here before you, you have something to live up to,” Paul Kettering said. “It’s a sense of pride to run a business in Fairmont.”

Delligatti’s grandfather, the late Ross Maruka, practiced law in Fairmont for many years. Delligatti said his grandfather was a respected and great lawyer and he hopes to follow in his footsteps, especially in terms of treating people the right way.

He and Kettering understand how to effectively communicate with their different clients, from juveniles to the elderly, and are able to relate to them. The partners realize that someone who contacts a lawyer typically isn’t in a good situation and it’s important to be sensitive to their circumstances, Delligatti said.

“Obviously any lawyer needs to know the law, but knowing how to treat people is what really makes the difference between a good lawyer and an average lawyer,” he said. “I think really that’s like any kind of business. You have to be able to know how to treat people, and I think both of us have interpersonal skills that allow us to do that effectively.”

Kettering has been enjoying working for himself and having the opportunity to interact face-to-face with clients. He said the practice strives to satisfy clients’ needs, and the work is very rewarding.

Delligatti added that he also likes the competitive nature of law.

“We’re both competitors, and we like winning,” he said.

For more information, call Kettering Delligatti Law Offices at 304-363-0444.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.