EMLF Member Spotlight With Katrina Bowers

Current law firm or association: Babst Calland
Law School: West Virginia University College of Law
Undergraduate: Marshall University
Spouse: Cody Bowers
Children: Jackson, age 2, and Julianna, due October 2022
Current home town: Charleston, WV
Favorite bar or restaurant in current home city? Why? Ristorante Abruzzi. They have a great outdoor patio and always accommodate our little guy.
EMLF Involvement: I first joined EMLF as a student in law school and transitioned to a professional membership when I began practicing. Over the years, I have attended annual institutes as well as fall symposium, authored and/or spoken at annual meetings and events in conjunction with the Institute for Energy Law, and participated in the EMLF Young Lawyers’ Committee.

Do you have a favorite anecdote or war story regarding your time as a lawyer?  Before starting to travel to a very contentious hearing, I stopped for a very large vanilla latte to caffeinate and treat myself. Before I got outside of the city of Charleston, the lid popped off covering my suit, me, and my car in almost every ounce of the latte. I spent the rest of the day sticky and smelly but otherwise got a good result. From that day forward, I started packing an extra suit.

Where did you grow up? Charleston, WV

What is your area of practice? Energy litigation and airport law

How did you get involved in that area of law? I started practicing in the energy litigation field right out of law school by representing coal operators in cases alleging adverse treatment, deliberate intent, and wrongful termination as well as in cases contesting civil penalties and violations issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. My energy litigation practice has continued to expand over the years to representing oil and gas clients in litigation concerning trespass, negligence, property damage, royalty payments, toxic torts, title disputes, breach of contract, preliminary and permanent injunctions, and fraud. In the last few years, I have taken on the role of General Counsel to the West Virginia International Yeager Airport, and serving as general counsel and advisor to airports in West Virginia, on day-to-day legal and business matters.

How much of your time is spent representing clients in the coal, oil and gas, or other energy industries? 50 percent.

You have spoken at a couple of EMLF events – and are speaking at this year’s Annual Institute – and have been involved in EMLF committees. Has that involvement benefited you? If so, how? The opportunity to examine and frame emerging issues in energy litigation that are or will impact energy industry stakeholders, learn intimately about and analyze those unique issues, and finally convey that information to people impacted by those issues is unique and humbling. As a young professional, the opportunity to speak at EMLF events has allowed me to showcase my understanding of novel issues and foundational issues impacting the energy industry while connecting with leaders in the field.

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? When COVID-related restrictions were first put in place, we had a 6-month-old. As the restrictions have eased, we’ve enjoyed taking him to restaurants and museums, and traveling.

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? The most important thing for my development was finding strong sponsors and mentors who brought me into their practices and gave me opportunities to expand my skill set. The second thing I’ve learned is there’s no substitute for hard work and being prepared. The third lesson is the importance of taking the initiative to seek out new opportunities and assignments from more senior attorneys.

Is there any advice you would give to new lawyers and law students who are about to become lawyers? If you want other people to believe that you are capable of doing difficult things and growth, you have to believe it as well and be comfortable with a certain degree of discomfort.

Join EMLF!

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

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