Spotlight On Jennifer Hicks

Current law firm or association: I am a Shareholder in Litigation at Babst, Calland, Clements & Zomnir, P.C., a great law firm, with excellent lawyers who are also just nice people to work with.

Past associations: I spent the first half of my career at Dinsmore & Shohl, where I was lucky to have some wonderful friends and mentors.

Law School: West Virginia University College of Law (Let’s Goooo Mountaineers!)

Undergraduate: West Virginia University

Spouse: Blake Thatcher, a Landman (but some say he is also a Saint for putting up with me).

Children: Two girls, Lucca (10) and Rafael (“Rafi”) (8).

Current hometown: Charleston, West Virginia

Favorite bar or restaurant in current home city? Why? 1010 Bridge Road. The food and cocktails are terrific, and the owners are just great people.

Fun hobbies or activities? Exercise (I’m up to three different gyms now!?); enjoying the West Virginia hills; reading (or more accurately, listening to books); and gelato (to balance the exercise).

EMLF Involvement: EMLF conferences are a MUST when I plan my calendar for the year.

Community Involvement: I’ve been actively involved in my community since I graduated law school and moved home, from acting as President of our local bar association, to serving on the Board of Generation West Virginia, to running a local Girl Scouts troop.

Do you have a favorite anecdote or war story regarding your time as a lawyer? Most of my war stories are better left unsaid, but if you buy me a drink, I may have some stories to tell…

Where did you grow up? Just enough miles outside of Charleston, West Virginia to say that I grew up in the “country.”

What is your area of practice? Litigation

How did you get involved in that area of law? I started in environmental, telling my firm and anyone who would listen that I did not want to be a litigator. Ultimately, I added litigation to fill my plate, and now I simply cannot imagine doing anything else. That experience helped me to learn the valuable lesson “never say never.”

How much of your time is spent representing clients in the coal, oil and gas, or other energy industries? Approximately 95%. My litigation experience is fairly diverse, so I am usually working on one or two non-energy matters at any given time.

Has your involvement in EMLF benefited you? If so, how? The connections I’ve made through EMLF benefit me every day, whether it is business development, continuing education, or just knowing I have friends I can call for advice or mentoring.

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? Everyone has heard these tips a million times, but that’s because they are true. First, law is a business, but before you can build a strong business, you must learn to be a great lawyer. Second, your reputation is everything, so protect it.

Is there any advice you would give to new lawyers and law students who are about to become lawyers? Keep an open mind and try lots of different practice areas before you settle into one. But then, hone your craft and always strive to be the best lawyer in the room. Usually, that just means overpreparing and outworking everyone else.

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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