A highly-regarded six lawyer team has joined the energy and environmental practices of Fulbright as the global firm opened an office in Western Pennsylvania, the center of activity for Marcellus Shale natural gas production.
Partner Ken Komoroski, a recognized shale gas leader and advocate, heads Fulbright's new office in the Southpointe Energy Complex near Pittsburgh. Komoroski is joined by five of his colleagues from K&L Gates, including partners Amy Barrette and Jeremy Mercer, two associates and a counsel. The new Pennsylvania office will be further supported by Fulbright's recognized energy and environmental litigators and transactional lawyers from Fulbright's other 16 offices, where the firm's lawyers are known for offering vast experience and a deep knowledge of energy matters spanning the globe.
"The development of unconventional natural gas reserves has transformed the energy landscape. We believe Ken's team is the strongest energy and environmental legal team advising energy companies in shale gas development in the Marcellus Shale," said Steven B. Pfeiffer, the Chair of Fulbright's Executive Committee. "Energy is a core practice for our firm, and we are committed to expanding strategically to serve the clients who look to us for advice on high stakes transactional, litigation and environmental work. This group of talented lawyers fits squarely within our national and global strategy."
The Pennsylvania office is Fulbright's 17th, joining ten domestic and six international offices, of which many are strategically located in geographic areas critical to the energy industry. With experienced energy lawyers in Houston, Dallas, Washington, D.C., New York, the Middle East, Asia and Europe, Fulbright is uniquely situated to meet the diverse needs of the firm's energy clients.
"The strength of our relationships with major oil and gas producers, pipelines and processing plants has allowed us to work on legal issues involving the major shale plays across the United States in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, North Dakota and Montana," said Michael Irvin, the head of Fulbright's global energy department. "The addition of Ken and his team in this key region allows us to grow to our strengths while assisting our clients in providing top-quality legal advice related to shale formations in the U.S. and abroad."
Fulbright's diversified energy practice offers clients the experience and knowledge gained during more than half a century handling complex energy matters, ranging from transactions to litigation and disputes, environmental and energy regulation. Fulbright's decades-long reputation and knowledge of the energy industry combined with its reputation for handling high stakes transactions and disputes attracted Komoroski's team to Fulbright.
"We chose Fulbright because we wanted to become part of the most experienced and recognized energy firm in Houston," Komoroski said. "We have remarkable synergies and are delighted to be part of such a talented and knowledgeable team with a broad and diverse energy practice."
From land use, local ordinances, energy regulation and permitting to lease and royalty disputes, Komoroski has represented oil and gas producers and pipelines for more than two decades. Similarly, he has represented energy clients in environmental, water usage and wastewater treatment matters and negotiated with the EPA and state agencies in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey, Texas, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Connecticut, Colorado, California, Arkansas, South Carolina and Florida.
Before attending law school, Komoroski worked as an engineer and supervisor of waste programs at a major chemical company in Pittsburgh. He also worked as an operations foreman of a wastewater treatment unit at a large chemical production facility, and a compliance specialist handling air, water and waste issues in Louisiana.
Komoroski received his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1988 and his undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering with a focus on water and wastewater treatment from Pennsylvania State University in 1977. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
"Ken's unique background combined with his extensive environmental knowledge and experience in the Marcellus Shale make him a tremendous asset," said Eva Fromm O'Brien, the head of Fulbright's Environmental Department. "His calm confidence, down-to-earth nature and belief in hard work make him a great fit for our team. We are excited to have Ken and his colleagues join us in assisting with the broad range of legal issues that face our clients in the Marcellus Shale and other key shale formations across the U.S. and the globe."
Joining Fulbright's Pennsylvania office with Komoroski are:
Partner Amy Barrette – Barrette handles complex commercial litigation involving oil and gas. She has advised clients on a wide array of matters, including alleged contamination of water supplies from natural gas drilling operations, personal injury, contract, royalty, lease and zoning disputes.
Barrette is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania and received her J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law in 2001. She earned her undergraduate degree from Washington and Jefferson College in 1998.
Partner Jeremy Mercer – Mercer, a commercial litigator focusing on oil and gas, advises clients on local zoning issues and has defended multi-plaintiff matters involving allegations of contamination and health effects related to drilling operations. He is well-versed in rights-of-way and easements, has challenged the application of a zoning ordinance to oil and gas operators and defends landowner suits related to drilling locations, lease disputes and royalty owners.
Mercer is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and earned his J.D. from Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law in 2000. He received his undergraduate degree from Youngstown State University in 1997.
Associate Megan E. Smith Miller – Smith Miller is a commercial litigator who focuses on oil and gas matters, representing clients in construction, land use and environmental regulatory matters. She is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and received her J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law in 2006. Smith Miller earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 2003.
Associate Emily Beach Thomas – Thomas offers complex commercial litigation advice concerning oil and gas disputes and related regulatory issues. She also advises on matters involving contract disputes, shareholder disputes, insurance and reinsurance coverage. She is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and received her J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2006. Thomas earned her undergraduate degree from Duke University in 2001.
Counsel Matthew Sepp – Sepp is a complex commercial litigator, who also focuses on oil and gas disputes. He has significant experience in all aspects of discovery, trial preparation and trial. He is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and received his J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law in 1999. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1996.