[Posted January 11, 2010] According to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch over the weekend, Attorney-General-elect Ken Cuccinelli has announced his selections for his senior staff, and for our purposes, the most important one is his pick for Solicitor General, McGuireWoods attorney Duncan Getchell. Getchell will take office once Cuccinelli is sworn in this weekend, and will fill the position that is now capably handled by Steve McCullough.

The Solicitor General is the highest-ranking attorney within the ranks of state government who actually practices law, as opposed to managing the AG’s office and the Commonwealth’s legal affairs. Virginia’s SG appears primarily in cases in the Fourth Circuit or the US Supreme Court, although he sometimes appears in the Supreme Court of Virginia in cases that present significant challenges to important provisions of state law.

Once upon a time, I regarded the post of Solicitor General (either state or federal) as my dream job, because it involved doing nothing but what I love, which is handling appeals. Since then, I have managed to create a 100%-appellate practice for myself, and I have one precious freedom that no SG will ever have: When a cause comes along with which I personally disagree, I can say no.