EMLF Member Spotlight: Travis Brannon
Current law firm or association: K&L Gates LLP
Law School: West Virginia University College of Law
Undergraduate: The University of Virginia’s College at Wise
Spouse: Meagan Brannon
Children: Robert Knox Brannon
Current home town: Pittsburgh, PA
Favorite bar or restaurant in current home city? Why?: tako (Downtown Pittsburgh) – they have an innovative menu and excellent cocktails. Meagan and I used to live right next door when we moved to the city.
EMLF Involvement: Currently, I am on the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees. I was a Law Student Member from 2010-2013. Previously, I was co-chair of the Young Professionals committee.
Where did you grow up? Glade Spring, VA, near Bristol, TN.
What is your area of practice? Energy Litigation
How did you get involved in that area of law? In 2012, I was a summer intern at the Mine Safety & Health Administration and accompanied inspectors into underground coal mines. In 2013, I was an environmental compliance intern with Alpha Natural Resources. From there, I took my interest in energy law to WVU and have mainly practiced energy litigation for the past 8 years.
How much of your time is spent representing clients in the coal, oil and gas, or other energy industries? 75% of my time is spent representing energy clients in property and contract disputes. I spend the remainder of my time representing clients in a variety of commercial litigation matters, including insurance coverage and class action defense.
You have spoken at a couple of EMLF events and have been involved in EMLF committees. Has that involvement benefited you? If so, how? There is no other practice area that I am aware of, where all of the key practitioners and industry players come together regularly to learn, network, and collaborate. EMLF has been a source of educational and professional growth for me since 2010. EMLF events and conferences are an opportunity to share useful information with our colleagues that work in the industry. When you speak on a topic for EMLF, you are the “expert” on the topic and it is an immersive experience from preparation, presentation, and talking with attendees. Committees are a great opportunity to learn about what EMLF does and contribute to all of the planning that helps our organization grow.
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 were able to do during the shutdowns? With Knox recently turning 3, we look forward to taking him to some amusement parks or new cities to explore next summer. Also, a few trips with his grandparents will be a must as well.
You’re still a young lawyer, but have been practicing about a decade. 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? I believe that showing a keen interest and appreciation for the area of practice is key. Someone “passing through” on energy litigation usually is easy to spot, so understanding the industry and staying up-to-date on key issues has been a focus of mine. At K&L Gates, the key for me was to earn the trust of the partners and clients as quickly as possible. Once you have their trust you receive all of the opportunities necessary to develop and be successful (writing, oral advocacy, and client development). Of course, staying positive and not taking yourself too seriously along the way can help too.
Is there any advice you would give to new lawyers and law students who are about to become lawyers? You cannot hit your hours in a single day and you cannot make partner in a single day. Be appreciative of the responsibility you are given and do your best work. Always make time for family and friends.