Current association: Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in Bridgeport, West Virginia
Past associations: Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. Morgantown, West Virginia
Law School: West Virginia University College of Law
Undergraduate: West Virginia University
Spouse: Dr. Emily R. Moore
Children: 1 daughter, Lucy Jean Moore, 2 years old.
Current home town: Bridgeport, West Virginia – Michael was recently named West Virginia Young Lawyer of the Year.
Favorite bar or restaurant in current home city? Julio’s Café – Small, family-owned Italian restaurant that has been around since the 1950’s. Quaint and private, but incredibly welcoming. Even more, Julio’s prepares some of the best food you will find anywhere (and I mean anywhere). The restaurant and family is truly an extension of our family, as we use it for many of our special events.
EMLF Involvement: “Best Practices & Considerations in Crafting Coronavirus Vaccination Policies.” Energy & Mineral Law Foundation Webinar, February 2021. “Joint Employment – The Law Keeps Changing,” Kentucky Mineral Law Conference, Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, October 2019. Young Professionals Committee, Program Committee, Strategic Planning Committee Chair, Online Programming Subcommittee
Do you have a favorite anecdote or war story regarding your time as a lawyer? Several lawyers have said this to me over the years, but on my first day as a practicing lawyer, Tom Rubenstein came into my office and told me that, while I didn’t have a single assignment to do that day, “good work creates more good work.” It is an anecdote that I have never forgotten and try to share with other young lawyers as they start their careers.
Where did you grow up? Clarksburg, West Virginia.
What is your area of practice? Labor and Employment – I split my time evenly between representing employers in union and non-union settings, which truly is like practicing in two different arenas altogether.
How did you get involved in that area of law? I took labor law while a second-year student at the West Virginia University College of Law from our esteemed professor, Anne Marie Lofaso. Professor Lofaso is just terrific. I quickly realized that I enjoyed the variety of issues that come into play in representing clients in union relationships and have been hooked ever since.
How much of your time is spent representing clients in the coal, oil and gas, or other energy industries? I spend roughly 60 to 70% of my practice time representing clients in the energy sector, both coal and oil and gas.
You have spoken at a couple of EMLF events and have been involved in EMLF committees. Has that involvement benefitted you? If so, how? Absolutely. Having the opportunity to interact with colleagues and become exposed to other experts in the energy sector has provided me with great insight into what our clients face across the board, both from a legal and from a more practical operation standpoint. Additionally, speaking engagements through EMLF always are valuable to young lawyers, such as myself, who look forward to the chance to speak with other experts on a particular topic – and who doesn’t love writing the law review article that comes with the presentation??
Are you a fan of West Virginia University sports? Growing up about forty minutes south of Morgantown, being a Mountaineer fan is indoctrinated into you at a young age. I went to West Virginia University during the “Golden Age” of its football (Pat White/Steve Slaton/many others) and basketball (Final Four squad) teams. My wife and I still attend many Mountaineer events.
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? Attending the Annual Institute in Memphis for EMLF really jump-started my desire to get out and interact with clients and colleagues who I, like everyone else, have been forced to avoid over the past eighteen months. My fingers remain crossed that the Delta variant will not slow the progress we have made in fighting this terrible virus.
You’re still a young lawyer, but have been practicing almost a decade. Looking back, what two or three things have been most helpful to you in developing as a lawyer and a young partner at your firm? Development as a young lawyer requires hard work, dedication, and “luck.” The hard work and dedication principles may seem obvious, but Rome was not built in a day. Those first few years may seem particularly daunting in terms of learning the practice area, networking, balancing family and friends, but the reward is well-worth it. The practice of law is so rewarding if approached with a cup half full mentality. I include “luck” as part of what’s been most helpful to me because I recognize that mentorship is an unavoidable piece to the puzzle in terms of developing as a young lawyer. In my Firm, I have been blessed with several mentors who have taken a particular interest in me, my career and my family. The head of that list is David Morrison, who has been a longtime supporter of EMLF. Without folks like David, I would not be where I am today.
Is there any advice you would give to new lawyers and law students who are about to become lawyers? The best advice I could give to young lawyers or students is to find a practice that fits your skillset and that you enjoy. Not everyone is cut out for transactional law, for instance, and not everyone is equipped to handle the “big firm” setting. The key to being successful, in my opinion, is finding what you like to do, and then taking every opportunity to become as good as you can be in that practice area. I always tell folks that when your job isn’t “work,” it’s a whole lot more fun.
See Michael’s bio here.