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Steptoe & Johnson PLLC


  • 400 White Oaks Boulevard
  • Bridgeport
  • West Virginia
  • USA
  • WV 26330
  • Tel:+1 304 933 8000
  • Fax:+1 304 933 8183
  • Email:Contact Us
  • Web:Visit website
  • CEO: Susan S Brewer

Firm Overview:
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC is nationally recognized as an energy firm serving the industry with its core strengths in Energy Law, Labor and Employment Law, Litigation, and Transactional Law. In 2013, Steptoe & Johnson celebrates serving clients for 100 years.

Main Areas of Practice:  

Firm attorneys represent Fortune 500 energy producers and are nationally recognized for excellence in shale gas law. The group is ranked #1 in energy-related practice areas by The Best Lawyers in America® 2013. Steptoe & Johnson’s Energy Team:
• 12th largest energy practice in the US by Energy Law 360
• Multi-billion dollar oil and gas transactions in the Marcellus and Utica shales
• Governmental affairs support to national energy developers
• One of the largest mineral title groups in the nation
• Represent regional and national entities in both the purchase and sale of mineral properties including producing coal properties and oil and gas leaseholds and producing wells
• FERC and midstream compliance management for major energy clients
• Employment and labor services to the extractive mineral industry
• Experience in private placements for natural gas drilling programs with IDC tax credits
• Litigated quiet title action relating to enforcement of a right of reconveyance found in prior assignment with respect to various oil and gas leasehold estates

Labor & Employment:
Steptoe & Johnson’s Labor and Employment Law Practice Group represents employers in all aspects of labor, employment, employee benefits, and occupational injury law. Group lawyers assist clients in industries such as energy, manufacturing, education, health care, and construction. The labor and employment practice is ranked #1 by The Best Lawyers in America® 2013.
• Defended oil and gas, timbering, manufacturing, and coal industry clients in deliberate intent cases involving companion claims of retaliatory discharge
• Negotiated pre-suit settlements for clients in sensitive employment matters

Real Estate & Natural Resources:
Steptoe & Johnson provides comprehensive legal services to real estate developers, commercial banks and lending institutions, governmental entities, energy companies, buyers and sellers of business assets and investors. The group’s broad experience positions the firmat the forefront of the legal profession in the region. The real estate practice is ranked #1 by The Best Lawyers in America® 2013. The natural resources practice is also ranked #1 in Ohio and West Virginia by The Best Lawyers in America® 2013.
• Managed large abstracting teams in multiple states to assist a major energy client in meeting an extensive drilling plan
• Lead teams responsible for numerous asset and stock transactions, lease transactions, and land and legal due diligence for acquisitions as lead or local counsel involving over 1,000,000 gross acres

Steptoe & Johnson litigators have built a reputation in trial and appellate courts based on a strong record in dealing with complex cases. Knowing that cost control is a critical factor in any successful strategy, the firm’s attorneys are also adept at analysis, budgeting and alternative dispute resolution.
• Lead counsel energy litigation experience, including defense of claims in excess of $250 million regarding allegations of contract breach, fraud and tortious interference in a natural gas measurement dispute
• Defended an oil and gas producer in a dispute over ownership of oil and gas rights worth over $70 million
• Defended a Fortune 100 coal company in a $100 million fraud and breach of contract action
• Represented oil and gas producers in over 100 mineral title and other litigation matters

Steptoe & Johnson’s environmental attorneys are seasoned litigators who handle commercial and energy related litigation in high profile cases, and experienced counselors who help clients to meet environmental obligations. The group counsels clients on environmental issues including industry and penalty and enforcement actions, site remediation and planning, hazardous and solid waste disposal permitting and enforcement. Five attorneys are recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® 2013 in environmental law.


  • Chase Center-Second Floor,
  • 1000 Fifth Avenue,
  • Suite 250,
  • Huntington,
  • West Virginia
  • USA
  • WV 25701
  • Tel +1 304 522 8290
  • Fax +1 304 526 8089
  • Email : chris.slaughter@steptoe-johnson.com
  • Edwin Miller Professional Centre,
  • 1250 Edwin Miller Boulevard,
  • Suite 300,
  • Martinsburg,
  • West Virginia
  • USA
  • WV 25404
  • Tel +1 304 263 6991
  • Fax +1 304 262 3541
  • Email : bridget.cohee@steptoe-johnson.com
  • Huntington Center,
  • Suite 2200,
  • 41 South High Street,
  • Columbus,
  • Ohio
  • USA
  • OH 43215
  • Tel +1 614 221 5100
  • Fax +1 614 221 0952
  • Email : kevin.west@steptoe-johnson.com

Corporate/Commercial - West Virginia

THE FIRM Steptoe & Johnson maintains its position at the forefront of the West Virginia market, representing energy, banking, real estate, commercial developers and business clients. The firm's commercial capabilities have been bolstered by a number of new hires and internal promotions in the past year. It has seen an uptick in mandates in relation to the energy sector, including public finance and public development work in the oil and gas arenas.

Sources say: "Its service is very personable, its team is knowledgeable and professional, and they understand our needs."

KEY INDIVIDUALS General counsel Evans King offers all-around expertise in M&A with an emphasis on banking and finance. He represents clients in diverse sectors and is particularly known for his knowledge of the energy industry.

John Stump is a well-known player in the market, focusing his practice on public financing. He is highly regarded in the bond market, with extensive experience in handling bond issues for local governments.

Frederick Williams is considered to be "among the most highly regarded bond lawyers" in the market and commentators are quick to praise his substantial strength in finance work. Sources are also very impressed with his broad talents in banking, public financing and state and federal taxation.

Patrick Deem's broad commercial practice has a strong reputation in the West Virginia market. "He is able, well regarded and produces quality work," one commentator enthused. He advises on M&A, real estate acquisitions and general corporate matters, with an emphasis on the oil and gas industries.

Walter Williams heads the firm's healthcare practice, and has many years' experience of general commercial transactions. He currently concentrates on healthcare and is highly regarded in this field, advising healthcare providers on all aspects of their business. 

Labor & Employment - West Virginia

THE FIRM This substantial, leading practice provides a full service across the labor and employment arena. A deep bench of talent offers expertise from collective bargaining and wage and hour disputes to occupational injuries and counseling employers on compliance and employment policy issues. The group is enhanced by the firm's litigation strength and is increasingly handling matters arising from the energy and resources sectors as well as such diverse sectors as healthcare, education and construction.

Sources say: "The firm has a good range of lawyers, from junior associates to senior partner level. It is able to staff cases properly."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Steptoe is one of the most experienced members of the team and is regarded as a go-to lawyer when it comes to labor and employment matters. "He can do anything and he has done everything," according to one source.

Bryan Cokeley heads the firm's labor and employment department and maintains a highly active employment litigation practice. He is regarded as a "top-notch" and dedicated litigator.

David Morrison is the former chair of the labor and employment department at this firm and has over 30 years of experience in this field. He covers both labor and employment counseling and litigation and is particularly active representing energy and coal industry clients.

For ten years, Rodney Bean has primarily focused his practice on providing healthcare and energy clients with labor and employment counseling. He serves as principal outside counsel to a major natural gas company in connection with all its employment and labor-related requirements. 

Christopher Slaughter has a broad practice encompassing both advisory work and litigation. Of late, he has been heavily engaged in traditional labor issues, labor negotiations and employment disputes, in particular representing employers from the energy, healthcare, manufacturing and construction sectors.

David Dick heads the firm's workplace safety team and concentrates his practice on labor and employment-related counseling. Clients appreciate his hands-on experience; he brings some 15 years of HR management experience in various industries, including manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

John Merinar is the well-regarded team leader who specializes in employer counseling and labor work. He is currently heavily engaged with clients in the education sector, handling a suite of employment-related matters.

Litigation - West Virginia

THE FIRM This sizable group continues to win a substantial number of mandates flowing from the energy industry, ranging across contractual disputes, property issues, employment and regulatory matters. The practice also handles product liability and professional liability cases for clients in the mining sector. The team's industry knowledge attracts clients from diverse areas including healthcare, rail, natural resources and financial services. 

Sources say: "One of their strengths is they analyze the claim at the outset and formulate a game plan early on, and head it in the direction we want rather than where the other side takes us."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Morgantown-based William Galeota leads the medical malpractice department and is especially experienced in healthcare-related litigation including medical malpractice defense, personal injuries and insurance defense work.

Managing partner Susan Slenker Brewer brings decades of experience to her clients in the healthcare arena, particularly with regard to medical malpractice work. Her experience includes taking cases to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and the US Court of Appeals.

Jeffrey Phillips is considered a top-notch litigator who is heavily engaged in personal injury work for natural resources clients. "Jeff has adapted to how I want things done, so any time I have called with an issue, it is dealt with quickly and it goes away," an impressed client remarked. 

Joanna Tabit is a general commercial litigator, who provides advice on a range of disputes in relation to employment, mass torts, property damage and workplace accidents. She is particularly experienced and active in the personal injury area.

With many years of experience as a clerk of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia prior to his private practice, Ancil Ramey is in demand for appellate matters. He has handled a huge number of appeals, with one source commenting: "He is highly respected for appellate litigation."

New to the list this year, Jonathan Ellis focuses on the energy and mining industries and is experienced at handling MSHA issues and injury cases. Clients are attracted by his excellent understanding of the mining industry, with one source commenting: "He saves us money because he understands what people are talking about so we don't have to explain it to him." 

Natural Resources - West Virginia

THE FIRM This full-service firm offers one of the largest and most impressive groups in the region which has further expanded as a result of a number of new hires. It is particularly highly regarded for its strength in the coal, oil and natural gas sectors, handling matters such as property acquisitions and sales. It can field teams to advise on the most complex of transactions and handles major energy investment matters for both national and international clients. 

Sources say: "We use its services because it is one of the leading firms in this field and is staffed to meet all our needs. We really rely on its expertise. The team pays attention to what clients want." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Patrick Deem is considered to be a "top-notch" oil and gas lawyer who enjoys an excellent reputation for assisting clients on M&A and financing transactions, as well as real estate-related matters. Peers are consistently impressed by the quality of his work, and recent highlights include assisting a provider of gas transportation and storage services on all aspects of its property acquisition for the construction of a gas extraction facility.

Sharon Flanery focuses her practice on energy-related business transactions and regulatory work, including negotiating joint venture agreements. She is particularly knowledgeable about the oil and gas industry and leads the firm's energy practice. Clients rate her highly because "she is not only a lawyer, but also a petroleum engineer. She understands the full scope of our business" and "she is very fast and attentive and knows how to structure the deal." 

James Russell is based in the firm's Morgantown office and is highly rated for his skills in natural resources-related commercial transactions and litigation. He offers extensive experience in the coal, oil and gas industries, representing developers and land owners in natural resources matters and coal field developments.

The "well-respected" David Flannery recently joined the team from Steptoe & Johnson. Flannery enjoys an excellent reputation for his extensive environmental practice. In the energy and natural resources arena, he offers vast experience in advising coal and railroad companies on environmental regulation, environmental litigation, enforcement and tort cases.

Real Estate - West Virginia

THE FIRM Steptoe & Johnson is recognized as a real force in the West Virginia market for its sizable team and robust commercial practice. Its real estate group advises on commercial and mineral real estate transactions for energy and natural resources clients, and is known for its capabilities in handling complex projects and litigious matters.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Patrick Deem is well known in West Virginia for his commercial real estate practice, and is particularly active in the energy and natural resources sectors. Over the past year, he has been heavily engaged in assisting oil and gas producers with various land and lease issues, and property and mineral acquisitions. He also acts for title insurance companies and their clients. 

Louis Enderle focuses his commercial property practice primarily on the energy and natural resources industries. He is also a licensed title insurance agent. 

Randall Light is also a title insurance agent, and represents national title insurance companies in a range of matters. He focuses on energy and natural resources-related transactions.