Current association: Peacock Keller
Past associations: EQT Production Co. (Vice President of Land & Title), Bowles Rice LP (Associate)
Law School: West Virginia University College of Law
Undergraduate: Fairmont State University (B.S., Finance)
Children: Trey, 10 years old
Favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh: Arlecchino Ristorante
EMLF Involvement: Currently, I’m serving as the Chair of the Governance Committee and Chair of the Fall Symposium. I’m a past-president of the Foundation, served on the Executive Committee for 9 years and have spoken at a number of EMLF events.
You have spent most or all of your career in the oil and gas and energy sectors and have had a lot of success. How did you get involved in this area of law? The short story is I traded assignments while I was an intern at Bowles Rice – a litigation assignment for what I was told was a property assignment. It turned out to be an oil and gas trespass case and I ended up working the remainder of the summer with the firm’s Energy Department. The experience made me realize how broad the term energy law was and that I could be both a property lawyer and business lawyer by working with energy clients.
Over the years, you have been very active in various organizations. You have particularly committed a lot of time to EMLF and previously served as President, even though you had a busy career. Why? It’s a place where I learn a lot, feel comfortable, I catch-up with friends, and can give back to the legal profession in a way that is meaningful to me.
What has EMLF meant to you? EMLF means a lot to me as you’ll see in this interview; but one of the things that means the most to me is the debate and discussion of the law that occurs at our events. One of the most basic requirements of a democracy is discussion and debate of laws. EMLF has created a safe space to do that while encouraging cordiality among members that maybe on different sides of a deal or issue.
Has your involvement had a positive effect on your career? Yes, it’s helped me develop my leadership skills, find mentors who supported me as both a lawyer and a business person, and given me a view into other areas of energy law that my clients may be dealing with.
You helped start the Careers in Energy Program. What is it and how did it come about? Careers in Energy is a way in which EMLF exposes law students to jobs in energy law. EMLF members of different legal backgrounds talk to law students about their career path, their day-to- day responsibilities, and the multitude of opportunities in the industry. The idea came about during a strategic planning meeting when I discussed how difficult it was to recruit law grads into energy. It was the early 2000’s and energy work was a bit slow but there were still deals going on, new environmental laws being passed and as always labor issues. Many of the firms had an entire energy department of senior attorneys and only one or two associates learning the business. We needed to fill the knowledge gap and make sure the next generation of lawyers were prepared to serve the industry. I’d like to think Careers in Energy (and the Marcellus Boom) helped us achieve our goal.
In addition to being a lawyer, you worked in management and ultimately in executive roles at EQT. Does that management and executive experience give you insights that help you better serve clients now that you are back in a law firm? I hope so. I’ve always viewed an energy lawyer’s job as helping, not hindering, a client in getting the deal done. As a manager and executive, I understand how much work has gone into the deal before it even gets to my desk, why it can be important to draft a middle of the road agreement or a one-sided agreement when negotiating a deal, and how important it is to meet a client’s deadline.
Do you find time to travel for fun? Absolutely, one of the things we do each year as a family is visit a different baseball stadium. This year we went to Chicago and visited both the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs stadiums (and my Cubs won).
Do you have a favorite place to visit? ITALY!
Do you have any hobbies? I’ve recently taken up golf. My son is also learning to play so it’s always fun to play a few holes or go to the driving range and whack some balls with him.
You have been practicing law for a while now and have had success. Is there any advice you would give to new lawyers and law students who are about to become lawyers? I always give the same piece of advice to students – say YES more than NO. It’s easy to say no, saying yes often pushes you out of your comfort zone, which is necessary for both personal and professional growth.