Sandra M. Murphy

West Virginia

Bowles Rice LLP
600 Quarrier Street
Charleston, WV 25301
United States

Tel: (304) 347-1131


Sandy focuses her practice on acquisition, regulatory, enforcement, corporate governance and securities law matters for banks and other financial institutions. She also represents Community Bankers of West Virginia.

Admitted to practice in West Virginia and Virginia, Sandy has been engaged in major bank acquisitions by bank holding companies, including over 30 acquisitions in Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia by United Bankshares, West Virginia’s largest bank holding company.  She has also assisted Summit Financial Group and First Community Bankshares with their Virginia and West Virginia acquisition activities.

Sandy’s regulatory practice encompasses the representation of clients before both state and federal regulatory agencies on a wide variety of matters, including regulatory enforcement actions, corporate activity and expansion activities and compliance issues. In the securities area, Sandy advises bank holding company clients on a variety of issues and provides ongoing legal advice to bank holding company clients registered with the Securities Exchange Commission.

Through her work with West Virginia’s banking associations, Sandy has assisted the banking industry in its legislative efforts and has been deeply involved in the passage of significant legislation affecting the industry.

Sandy and Bowles Rice have been at the forefront of critical issues and developments affecting West Virginia financial institutions.  This preeminent role has been recognized by many clients in their comments to national peer review and credentialing organizations, including the following:

“Best there is in West Virginia.” (Client Comment, U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Firms)

“Sandra Murphy provides, without question, the best banking counsel in West Virginia.” (Client Comment, U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Firms)

“I have worked with Sandy for over 20 years. She is, in my opinion, the top banking lawyer in WV. She has been instrumental in helping us achieve legislative changes that put us on parity with Bank Holding Companies and National Banks. Not only would I recommend her to a prospective client, I have.” (Client Comment, U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Firms)

Bowles Rice’s Banking and Financial Services Practice Group includes multiple lawyers and other professionals who focus their practices on issues affecting the financial services industry.

Areas of our Banking and Financial Services Practice Group include:

Bowles Rice represents more than 70 banks and bank holding companies and is proud to represent the Community Bankers of West Virginia.

On behalf of both the West Virginia Bankers Association and the Community Bankers of West Virginia, Bowles Rice has filed numerous amicus briefs with the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, which address a broad range of issues fundamental to the financial services industry, including:

  • Fluharty v. Quicken Loans Inc. (applicable standard for proving unconscionability per the WVCCPA)
  • McFarland v. Wells Fargo Bank and U.S. Bank National Association  (applicable standard for proving unconscionability per the WVCCPA)
  • Tribeca Lending Corporation v. McCormick (applicable statute of limitations in foreclosure)
  • Lusk v. First Century Bank (application of caveat emptor in foreclosures)
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company v. Frank S. Martino (disclosure of non-public personal information under state and federal privacy statutes)
  • State of W. Virginia v. Combs Services, et al. and Mountain Valley Bank, N.A. (priority of secured creditor lien over statutory lien created by preneed burial contact statute)
  • Copier Word Processing Supply, Inc. v. WesBanco Bank, Inc., et al. (applicable statute of limitations in case involving conversion of checks by employee)
  • Martino v. Barnett, et al. (disclosure of non-public personal information under state and federal privacy statutes)
  • The Citizens Bank of Weston, Inc., et al. v. The City of Weston (proper application of municipal B&O tax)
  • McMahon v. Advanced Title Services Company of West Virginia, et al. (unauthorized practice of law)
  • Lucas, et al. v. Fairbanks Capital Corp., et al. (scope of duties of trustees and loan servicers in foreclosure)

Regulatory and Compliance
Our attorneys provide regulatory advice and representation to local and regional institutions in connection with matters before state and federal regulatory agencies. We routinely represent banks, bank holding companies, insurance companies, securities firms and other financial institutions regarding a wide range of compliance issues. Our fluency in bank regulatory matters enables us to provide effective representation to investors and operators in virtually all matters, ranging from seeking new bank charters to expanding their operations, either by acquisition or by establishing new institutions, branches or product lines. We work routinely with OCC, Federal Reserve, the FDIC and analogous state regulatory agencies.

Mergers and Acquisitions
Bowles Rice attorneys have substantial depth in the merger and acquisition of regulated financial institutions. Our team has assisted parties in the acquisition or sale of financial institutions and the purchase of assets from banks and the FDIC. Our experience includes successful applications with all federal banking regulators, SEC, FINRA, as well as the insurance departments and securities commissions of multiple states.

Other Services
In addition to our areas of experience that are specific to banks and bank holding companies, our firm supplies a full range of services applicable to all types of corporate entities. These include services in the area of employee relations, pension and benefits planning, taxation, estate planning, environmental law and commercial litigation. Our firm is in a unique position to serve the general corporate needs of banks and bank holding companies in each of these other areas.

Bowles Rice is a professional service organization, contributing to the success of our clients and the vitality of our communities through advocacy, counsel, leadership and service.

Our firm was founded in Charleston, West Virginia, in 1920 by three lawyers engaged in the general practice of law.  Through success, expansion and merger, we have grown to become a full-service law firm with 110 attorneys serving clients in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia – and throughout the nation – from seven strategically located, regional offices.

We are committed to quality and professionalism in all that we do.  Our firm has earned the highest AV peer-review ranking from Martindale-Hubbell, long considered the authoritative resource on the legal profession.

In the 2020 edition of its Best Law Firms publication, US News & World Report recognizes Bowles Rice nationally and regionally in over 40 different areas of law.  Chambers and Partners, a well-respected global peer-ranking organization, lists Bowles Rice among its “Top Ranked” law firms, and noted in the 2019 edition of Chambers USA“They are excellent and I enjoy working with them.”  The 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© includes 44 Bowles Rice attorneys. And Benchmark Litigation, which publishes a definitive guide to America’s leading litigation firms and attorneys, has recognized Bowles Rice as its “West Virginia Law Firm of the Year” for four consecutive years (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020).