Current association: Senior Counsel at Robinson & McElwee PLLC
Past associations: Executive Director of West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association and former shareholder at Babst, Calland, Clements, & Zomnir, PC
Law School: Capital University Law School, Columbus, Ohio
Undergraduate: B.S. and M.S. in Biological Sciences from Marshall University, Huntington, WV
Children/Grandchildren: Grace Blankenship, senior at George Washington High School and hostess extraordinaire at Sohos.
Hometown: Waynesboro, Virginia
Favorite restaurant: Too many to pick just one! Sohos, Lolas, 1010 Bridge – all in Charleston, WV.
EMLF Involvement: I have been involved with EMLF my entire professional career, especially as a young lawyer. My first presentation as a lawyer was the coal law update at the 2002 EMLF annual meeting in Myrtle Beach, SC.
You are an accomplished utility law attorney. What drew you to this area? With a focus on utility law, I represent electric and natural gas utilities before the West Virginia Public Service Commission. I have practiced on and off in this area for 20 years and have enjoyed this challenging niche practice and getting to work with sophisticated knowledgeable clients.
Many of the cases you have handled through the years have been in mineral and natural resources law. How did you get involved in this area of law? My involvement in natural resources law began years ago when practicing environmental law in the natural gas industry. Part of this practice in my early years included the representation of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, which led to holding the Executive Director position from 2016 to 2020.
Over the years, you have been very active in various mineral or energy organizations. What has EMLF meant to you? Has your involvement had a positive effect on your career? EMLF has played a big part in the development of my career, especially as a young lawyer. It provided numerous opportunities for legal presentations and papers in a collegiate and supportive environment. EMLF provides a great networking and mentoring environment with other lawyers and my connections have led to career opportunities and growth over the years.
Do you find time to travel for fun? Do you have a favorite place to visit? I love to travel. My daughter and I love NYC and Chicago. I am also a big fan of Napa Valley, Savannah, Georgia, and Vero Beach, Florida.
Other hobbies? I love photography and capturing all of the things I enjoy in photos: my mini-bernadoodle Finn, the outdoors, kayaking, hiking, and anything water related. I also enjoy cooking and entertaining and dabble in a little interior design work from time to time.
You have been practicing law for a number of years and have had substantial success. Is there any advice you would give to new lawyers and law students who are about to become lawyers? Have an open mind about where your law degree can take you! I have been fortunate to be able to practice law in exciting, policy-making areas, which led to other opportunities outside of the law. It is a dynamic area that is always changing. Stay involved in associations like the EMLF that support the growth of their members in addition to providing educational opportunities.