Darrell McGraw was born in Wyoming County on November 8, 1936. After graduating from Pineville High School, he earned degrees from Berea Academy and West Virginia University, where he served as student body president. He also served a stint in the army.
In the 1960s, he opened a private law practice and was a legal counsel to Governor Hulett Smith and the legislature. A staunch Democrat, McGraw was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1976, one of three liberals elected to the court that year. The outspoken justice was a lightning rod for conservative critics for court cases such as the 1978 Mandolidis decision, which expanded the rights of injured workers to sue employers.
McGraw was defeated for re-election as attorney general in 1988 but was elected state attorney general four years later. In his 20 years in that position, McGraw emphasized consumer protection and won important settlements with a direct-mail operator and against the tobacco industry.
Darrell McGraw was defeated for re-election in 2012 by Republican Patrick Morrissey. And in 2016, he was defeated in another bid for the state Supreme Court.