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December 02, 2015 - 1:54 AM
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James Russell

Chairman, Business Law Division

Steptoe & Johnson
P.O. Box 1616
Morgantown, WV

Phone: 304.598.8105

Jim Russell focuses his practice in the areas of natural resources (coal, oil, and gas), commercial transactions, and commercial litigation. Additionally, Mr. Russell has acted as counsel for various syndications involving the development of real estate.


  • Negotiated municipal tax incentives, and negotiated and drafted operational covenants and restrictions, applicable to retail shopping center near Morgantown, West Virginia, and negotiated and closed sales and leases of shopping center properties on behalf of shopping center developer
  • Represented the owner of a substantial block of eastern Ohio (Utica Shale) oil and gas acreage in connection with negotiation and sale of those assets to Texas-based oil and gas company for cash and overriding royalty interest, enabling client to realize substantial return on investment
  • Assisted multiple clients with the review and analysis of title abstracts involving both coal and oil and gas mineral properties, including the preparation of numerous title opinions identifying (a) the legal risks of mining or developing these properties and (b) recommended cures and mitigation strategies regarding title defects and irregularities
  • Represented a large energy company in connection with the transfer of its oil, natural gas and coal bed methane assets and reserves located in several states to a subsidiary entity, and assisted the subsidiary in raising invested capital
  • Negotiated the disposition of thousands of acres of coal and surface properties owned by a national conservation organization in Ohio and Illinois, and assisted the client organization in converting donated assets into funds for its conservation projects


  • 1977
    Steptoe & Johnson


  • Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • The Best Lawyers in America®
  • Best Lawyers® 2011 Morgantown Natural Resources Lawyer of the Year
  • Peer Review Rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell
  • President, Business Lawyers' Division, The West Virginia Bar Association
  • Energy & Mineral Law Foundation
  • Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry
  • Bronze Star


  • Vision 20/20 Riverfront Development Committee
  • Morgantown Chamber of Commerce

PUBLICATIONS / SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS Mr. Russell is the author of three published articles and has made presentations on various commercial and mining law topics at CLE seminars in West Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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