Current law firm or association: Equitrans Midstream Corporation (2018 to present)
Past associations: EQT Corporation (2007 – 2018); Robinson & McElwee, PLLC (2004 – 2007)
Law School: WVU College of Law
Undergraduate: West Virginia State University
Spouse: Greg Brisendine
Children: Sophia and Nolan
Current home town: Wexford, PA
Favorite bar or restaurant in current home city? Why?: Mitch’s Barbeque – It’s a small, casual family restaurant that serves food that reminds me of home in West Virginia.
EMLF Involvement: I’ve been a member of the EMLF since I started practicing law in 2004. Since that time, I’ve attended many conferences; written and assisted in writing several papers; co-chaired an annual conference; and served as a member-at-large on the Board. Currently, I am serving as a member of the Executive Committee.
Where did you grow up? Campbells Creek, a small community just east of Charleston in Kanawha County, West Virginia.
What is your area of practice? I would say my primary focus is oil and gas law. However, in my position as Deputy General Counsel, it is important that I am knowledgeable and well-versed in a variety areas, including laws and regulations related to employment, insurance, contracts, construction, personal injury, and worker’s compensation.
How did you get involved in that area of law? After law school, I joined Robinson & McElwee as an associate. I had the good fortune to work under Tim Miller, who gave me my first oil and gas case; and I’ve been managing oil and gas matters ever since.
You have spoken at a couple of EMLF events and have been involved in EMLF committees. Has that involvement benefitted you? If so, how? Involvement in EMLF is always beneficial. It provides an opportunity to learn about emerging issues and to meet both in-house and outside counsel who are knowledgeable about legal issues arising in our industry.
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? It was exciting to be able to get back to in-person meetings and hearings. Having the ability to utilize video to stay connected and carry on with case work was key during the pandemic, but it’s always better to be in the same room with others during meetings and proceedings.
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?
- At some point early in my career I was listening to another attorney speak to a group of non-attorneys who appeared to be confused by the long, complex explanation that was being conveyed. I decided then that my goal would always be to explain legal concepts in manner that is easily understood, which makes clients feel more involved in legal decision-making and at ease with the legal process. Over the years, clients have repeatedly told me that they appreciate the way I break down complex legal concepts and that they have a high degree of trust in me because I explain things and make them feel part of the process.
- I don’t think I would be where I am today if I had relied on others to do the background research and leg work. I truly believe it is important to dig in and learn about new issues firsthand. These extra efforts have helped me acquire expertise in a number of areas.
Is there any advice you would give to new lawyers and law students who are about to become lawyers?
- Be true to yourself and find your own way. What’s important is that you keep learning and growing along the way. Charting your own course is perfectly fine, and you don’t always have to follow the same process as everyone else does.
- If your preference is to practice in-house, don’t make that your first job. Before taking on a corporate role, it’s best to practice at a firm first, which will give you the valuable benefit of learning and understanding the expertise that’s there. In-house legal departments are looking for that type of insight and experience.