Current association: Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease
Law School: The Ohio State University
Undergraduate: The Ohio State University
Children: Malin (14), Sylvie (12), Cyrus (9)
Home: Columbus, Ohio
Favorite restaurant: Anything that wasn’t picked by the kids!
EMLF Involvement: I’ve been a frequent attendee at events and have spoken before. I recently served on the Membership Committee formed as part of the strategic planning initiative, and I recently joined the Board of Trustees.
You have spent most or all of your career in the energy sector and have had a lot of success. How did you get involved in this area of law? Completely random. As a fairly new associate to the firm, I was asked by one of our oil and gas partners to help on a litigation matter about to go to trial. It involved a conventional operator in a dispute with a pipeline company. Eight months later the Utica Shale play really kicked off in Ohio and based on my “extensive” experience in the subject (i.e., having seen one case), I was suddenly thrust into the thick of the first round of litigation in the new play. Oil and gas has been my primary practice ever since.
Over the years, you have been very active in various organizations. You have particularly committed a lot of time to EMLF, even though you had a busy career. Why? I think it’s important to make sure that people have a trusted resource for knowledge of energy-law matters. Additionally, we’re a fairly small bar, so it’s good to be able to build relationships with others in the field in case you need to refer someone out or have a question that needs answered.
What has EMLF meant to you? It’s been a valuable way to build relationships with colleagues in what’s a very niche practice area.
Has your involvement had a positive effect on your career? I certainly hope so!
Do you find time to travel for fun? Do you have a favorite place to visit? We do travel for fun and in fact recently returned from a trip to the US Virgin Islands. We’re hoping to be able to travel more now with the kids now that they’re older and instilling the travel bug in them. I’m also a fan of Vegas, which is a completely different trip of course.
Do you have any hobbies? I like to hike, though I don’t get out as much as I like. I’m a history geek, so I’m often reading histories or visiting museums, etc., when traveling. I also have a competitive itch, which I satisfy by playing poker, board games, and computer strategy games.
You have been practicing law for a while and have had success. Is there any advice you would give to new lawyers and law students who are about to become lawyers? Be flexible. You are much more likely to have a satisfying career if you find people you enjoy working with and working in the area they do than trying to first pick an area of practice and hoping you like the people. I had no idea coming out of law school that I’d be an energy litigator, but by working with people I liked and grabbing the opportunities available, I’ve had what has been a satisfying first part of my career.
It looks like there are a lot of great topics that will be addressed at the Annual Institute. That said, which topic are you most looking forward to hearing? I’m very interested to learn more about how cryptocurrency mining is interacting with the energy sector.
Some people are just getting back to traveling and attending conferences in person. Are you hearing feedback from people who are excited about catching up with old friends that they have met at EMLF events in past years? Yes! I think people are genuinely excited to get back together and see folks they haven’t seen in several years.
Amelia Island is a great place to visit. Outside attending the conference itself and visiting with EMLF friends, what are you most looking forward to doing in Amelia Island? Hopefully enjoying some sunshine and a boat drink together at some point!