Current association: Steptoe & Johnson
Law School: Duquesne University School of Law, JD
Undergraduate: Ithaca College, BFA Musical Theatre
Spouse: Denise Freund
Children: Shay Freund and Brayden Freund
Hometown: Wichita, KS
Favorite restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory
EMLF Involvement: President
Community Involvement: Executive Board of Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Volunteer Committee Member; Judge of Elections for Moon Township, PA, former BSA committee member and troop leader
You are an accomplished litigator. What drew you to litigation? Background in theatre and success with moot court in law school. However, my practice has been more focused in transactions than litigation over the past several years.
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 law practice is almost entirely centered in mineral and energy law (including a renewable energy practice). I started out of law school at a firm in Charleston, West Virginia as an associate in the coal, oil and gas practice group. I really enjoyed the challenge of learning business aspects of mineral/energy development and was blessed to work under very accomplished and knowledgeable practitioners in that area. I have enjoyed a legally diverse and varied practice that is grounded in knowledge and experience with mineral and energy development.
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? Yes. Having started in an energy practice/firm, from the very beginning of my career, I attended meetings and worked with oil and gas industry association and coal industry association groups. I attended an EMLF Annual Institute within my first year of practice. I have attended every Annual Institute since! EMLF has had an enormous effect on my career. In addition to the knowledge I’ve gained in substantive areas of Energy Law, I have made many friends and business relationships. Most, if not all, of my professional network can be traced to a connection with or through the EMLF.
Do you find time to travel for fun? Do you have a favorite place to visit? Absolutely! I enjoy travelling with my family. We generally vacation within driving distance on the east coast. We enjoy historic locations, cultural activities, and good food! Oh… and sunny weather!! Charleston, SC is at the top of our list of favorite places to visit!!
Favorite books/authors, genre? Other hobbies? I like the classics…. however, I don’t read for enjoyment any more as much as I would like to. My favorite book is probably “Crime and Punishment.” But there are many on that list. My primary hobby is running. I am not very fast, but I love it! I also like to watch football when I can fit it in—Go ‘Stillers’!
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? Say “Yes.” Or put another way, “swing the bat.” I have found that being willing to put in the time and to work on as many projects (professional and volunteer) as possible leads to success and builds confidence. Having spent my twenties in NYC chasing a career in music theater, I learned that opportunities cannot be squandered. My advice is to take advantage of every opportunity available to you and look to make more!