Attorney enters county associate circuit judge election

Friday, January 24, 2014 | 8:04 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — A Columbia attorney has announced his candidacy for the Division 5 Boone County associate circuit judge position that will be up for election later this year.

Finley D. Gibbs will run for the position, which is currently held by Judge Larry Bryson, who announced his retirement on Jan. 17. Bryson is leaving the position at the end of this year after 28 years on the bench.

Gibbs is currently a partner in the law firm of Rotts & Gibbs LLC, and he has been an attorney in Columbia since 1997, according to the release. He has worked at the municipal, state and federal levels, and he said his experience would prepare him for the range of cases the position would require him to handle.

"Boone County has a busy and efficient system now," Gibbs said. "One of the challenges of being a new judge is coming in and being a seamless part of the court system."

Another challenge will be adapting to the increased use of technology in the courts, which Gibbs said won't be a problem for him.

Before Gibbs became a lawyer, he worked a variety of jobs, including positions as a sales representative for Trek Bicycle Corp. and as a short-range truck driver. Gibbs said those jobs gave him the ability to communicate with different kinds of people, a strength he feels will help him as judge.

In Boone County's busy court system, good communication is necessary to keep things running efficiently, Gibbs said. 

"It's particularly difficult for a person who hasn't been to court before," Gibbs said. Although judges can't give legal advice, they "can help people get through the process of our court system," he said.

Josh Oxenhandler, a partner in the law firm of Holder Susan Slusher Oxenhandler, has known Gibbs since Oxenhandler began practicing professionally in 2001.

"I think he's a people person. I think that he's empathetic," Oxenhandler said. "And I think those are also two fine qualities for a judge to have."

Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.

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