EMLF Member Spotlight: Kara H. Herrnstein

Current law firm or association: Bricker & Eckler LLP

Past associations: U.S. Courts of Appeal for the 6th and 11th Circuits

Law School: The Ohio State University

Undergraduate: The University of Akron

Spouse: David

Children: Two little boys, Jimmy (4) and Matthew (1)

Current home town: Columbus, Ohio!

Favorite bar or restaurant in current home city? Why? Kitties Cakes. Kitties has the best baked goods in town and the staff is wonderfully patient when my 4-year-old makes a giant mess, tells a very long story during check-out, and generally introduces chaos.

EMLF Involvement: I have been fortunate to attend and speak at a number of EMLF events on topics related to renewable energy

Do you have a favorite anecdote or war story regarding your time as a lawyer? An energy practice is nothing but an ongoing war story. When I started in oil & gas, there would be protesters at my hearings fighting the use of fossil fuels. When I started in wind, there would be protesters who didn’t want turbines in their county. When I started in solar, there would be protesters who didn’t want panels on farmland. You have to believe in the utility and importance of what you’re helping to build.

Where did you grow up? Akron, Ohio.

What is your area of practice? I focus on all sizes and types of renewable development.

How did you get involved in that area of law? It was an intentional shift. I started in traditional litigation helping energy companies resolve commercial disputes. Doing this, I realized that what I really enjoy is removing obstacles to projects I care about. That led me to expand out of the courtroom to the project development level.

How much of your time is spent representing clients in the coal, oil and gas, or other energy industries? Nearly 100%

You have spoken at a couple of EMLF events and have been involved in EMLF committees. Has that involvement benefited you? If so, how?  Yes!  Renewables are still the new kids on the block in Ohio, and EMLF has facilitated connections with practitioners in other states who are a great source of ideas and knowledge.

Now that some of the COVID-related restrictions on restaurants, gatherings, and travel are ending, is there anything in particular that you have done or look forward to doing soon, that you weren’t able to do during the shutdowns? After lots of lovely but very intensive quality time with the kids, my husband and I are taking a “parents only” hiking trip to Utah.

You’re still a young lawyer, but have been practicing for a few years. Looking back, what two or three things have been most helpful to you in developing as a lawyer and as an attorney at your firm?   

(1) Being intentional about the direction of my career and the industries I serve. I was much happier once I took charge of that and felt like I had control over my trajectory.

(2) Pro bono work. My pro bono clients have helped me grow as a person and as an attorney. I am the pro bono chair at my firm and I always encourage new attorneys to get involved as much as they can.

Is there any advice you would give to new lawyers and law students who are about to become lawyers? See above: pro bono early and often!

Join EMLF!

Membership in the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation is open to anyone who is concerned with issues pertaining to the energy industry.

Related News

Share This