Interview with Clayton Harkins

Current law firm or association: Dinsmore & Shohl LLP

Law School: West Virginia University College of Law

Undergraduate: Texas A&M University

Spouse: Cassie Harkins

Children: Topher Harkins (2 years old) and a baby girl on the way.

Current hometown: Hurricane, WV

Favorite bar or restaurant in current home city? Why? 1010 Bridge (in Charleston, WV). The food and cocktails are always solid, and they support local farmers and businesses. Plus, Chef Paul Smith was recently nominated for a James Beard Award for best chef in the Southeast.

EMLF Involvement: I first got involved with EMLF during law school by attending the Fall Symposium. Since then, I have volunteered for the Careers in Energy Program and various planning committees for EMLF events. COVID really put a damper on attending in person events, but I am looking forward to attending my first Annual Institute later this year.

Where did you grow up? El Campo, TX

What is your area of practice? Commercial Litigation

How did you get involved in that area of law? I kind of just fell into it as a summer associate and then never looked back.

How much of your time is spent representing clients in the coal, oil and gas, or other energy industries? Right now, about a quarter of my work is related to the energy industry. But, it varies depending on the matters being litigated.

Has your involvement in EMLF benefited you? If so, how? Absolutely. I think the biggest benefit is getting to meet people from across the energy industry.

Now that the COVID-related restrictions on restaurants, gatherings, and travel are ending, is there anything that you have done or look forward to doing soon, that you weren’t able to do during the shutdowns? My wife and I love to travel, so I am looking forward to getting to explore some new places, eat some good food, and have a few drinks along the way.

You are 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? Mentorship is key. Find a mentor in your practice area who you can lean on for help when needed. Take advantage of their experience (people that have been practicing for 10, 20, 30+ years know a thing or two), and do not be afraid to ask the dumb questions.

Is there any advice you would give to new lawyers and law students who are about to become lawyers? Your assistant and paralegal know more than you. Own your mistakes. Read the rules, know the rules. And most importantly – have fun.


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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