Babst Calland Sponsors 2023 Smart 50 Awards Event

Babst Calland sponsored the Pittsburgh Smart 50 Awards event recognizing the top executives of the smartest companies in the Greater Pittsburgh region for their ability to effectively build and lead successful organizations.

Babst Calland Attorney Susanna Bagdasarova introduced a group of the Smart 50 honorees and the Sustainability award.

Babst Calland Attorney Justine Kasznica was a Smart 50 honoree and won the Impact award for the Keystone Space Collaborative.


Tiffany Arbaugh Elected as President for WEN WV

Babst Calland Attorney Tiffany Arbaugh has been elected as President for the Women’s Energy Network West Virginia for 2024.

Abigail Reecer Joins Babst Calland

Abigail M. Reecer recently joined Babst Calland as an associate in the Energy and Natural Resources Group and Pipeline and HazMat Safety Practice. Ms. Reecer represents client in pipeline safety matters before the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), state agencies, and federal courts.

Prior to joining Babst Calland, Ms. Reecer was an associate with Hollingsworth LLP. She is a 2021 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center.

Babst Calland Ranked in 2024 Best Law Firms®

Babst Calland has been recognized in the 2024 edition of Best Law Firms®, ranked by Best Lawyers®, nationally in 8 practice areas and regionally in 31 practice areas:

  • National Tier 1
    • Environmental Law
    • Litigation – Environmental
  • National Tier 2
    • Land Use & Zoning Law
    • Natural Resources Law
    • Oil & Gas Law
  • National Tier 3
    • Energy Law
    • Litigation – Construction
    • Mining Law
  • Regional Tier 1
    • Pittsburgh
      • Bet-the-Company Litigation
      • Commercial Litigation
      • Construction Law
      • Corporate Law
      • Energy Law
      • Environmental Law
      • Information Technology Law
      • Land Use & Zoning Law
      • Litigation – Construction
      • Litigation – Environmental
      • Litigation – Land Use & Zoning
      • Municipal Law
      • Natural Resources Law
      • Water Law
    • Charleston-WV
      • Commercial Litigation
      • Energy Law
      • Environmental Law
      • Litigation – Environmental
      • Oil & Gas Law
  • Regional Tier 2
    • Pittsburgh
      • Admiralty & Maritime Law
      • Labor Law – Management
    • Charleston-WV
      • Mining Law
      • Natural Resources Law
    • Washington, D.C.
      • Energy Law
      • Environmental Law
      • Litigation – Environmental
      • Oil & Gas Law
  • Regional Tier 3
    • Pittsburgh
      • Mergers & Acquisitions Law
    • Charleston-WV
      • Bet-the-Company Litigation
      • Litigation – ERISA
      • Real Estate Law

Firms included in the 2024 Best Law Firms® list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be considered for this milestone achievement, at least one lawyer in the law firm must be recognized in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Achieving a tiered ranking in Best Law Firms® on a national and/or metropolitan scale signals a unique credibility within the industry. The transparent, collaborative research process employs qualitative and quantitative data from peer and client reviews that is supported by proprietary algorithmic technology to produce a tiered system of industry-led rankings of the top 4% of the industry.

Receiving a tier designation represents an elite status, integrity and reputation that law firms earn among other leading firms and lawyers. The 2024 edition of  Best Law Firms® includes rankings in 75 national practice areas and 127 metropolitan-based practice areas. Additionally, one “Law Firm of the Year” was named in each nationally ranked practice area.

Click here to view Babst Calland’s profile.

Babst Calland Opens Harrisburg Office

Babst Calland today announced the opening of its office in Harrisburg, Pa., and the addition of two experienced litigation attorneys, Michael Libuser and Stefanie Pitcavage Mekilo.

Led by Shareholder Casey Alan Coyle, who joined the firm in August 2022, the Harrisburg office provides legal counsel for local, regional, and national businesses, industry sectors, and trade associations with focused practices in litigation, energy and natural resources, environmental, and legislative and regulatory affairs, among others.

The Harrisburg team of attorneys offers deep litigation experience in matters pending before state and federal appellate courts, with a particular emphasis on appeals before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. They also represent clients in disputes pending before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and state trial courts throughout Central Pennsylvania and matters brought before the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court as part of its original jurisdiction.

“It is an exciting time for Michael and Stefanie to join Babst Calland and open a new office in Harrisburg,” said Mr. Coyle. “The Harrisburg office is uniquely poised to offer its clients the best of both worlds—pairing the service and pricing of a litigation boutique with the deep-bench expertise and resources of a law firm with more than 35 years of experience serving clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to small and mid-sized businesses nationwide.”

Mr. Libuser represents clients in state and federal trial and appellate courts, with a particular emphasis on cases before the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Yvette Kane, Senior United States District Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, where he drafted opinions for the Third and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals and handled a wide range of district court matters involving complex civil litigation, commercial contracts, administrative law, trade secrets, and various statutory claims. Before that, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Karoline Mehalchick, Chief United States Magistrate Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and previously served as the Principal Law Clerk to the Honorable Jeanette Rodriguez-Morick, an Acting Supreme Court Justice and Judge of the New York State Court of Claims.

Mr. Libuser earned his J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2012. He graduated with honors from Stony Brook University in 2006.

Ms. Mekilo is a civil litigator who concentrates her practice in state and federal trial courts, with particular emphasis on cases before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Ms. Mekilo draws on more than a decade of trial-court experience in the federal judiciary to guide clients through all aspects of the litigation process. She focuses her practice on complex commercial disputes involving theft of trade secrets; breach of noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements and other restrictive covenants; breach of fiduciary duties, tortious interference, and related business tort claims; labor and employment; and emergency injunction litigation. Ms. Mekilo also has experience in antitrust, environmental, securities, trademark infringement, product liability, class action, and multidistrict litigation. Prior to joining Babst Calland, Ms. Mekilo served as a judicial law clerk in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania for 12 years—first as a term law clerk to Judge John E. Jones III, then as the managing law clerk to Judge Christopher C. Conner.

Ms. Mekilo received her J.D. from Widener University Commonwealth Law School in 2011, graduating summa cum laude at the top of her class. She earned her B.A. in Business Administration from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2008. Ms. Mekilo is an active member of the greater Harrisburg community. She currently serves as Secretary of the Middle District Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, as well as Vice President and President-Elect of the Junior Board of the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg.

Commenting on these moves and the opening of the Harrisburg office, Managing Shareholder Donald C. Bluedorn II said, “We are very pleased to welcome this fine team of attorneys to Babst Calland and are thrilled to open a new office in Harrisburg to work collaboratively across our other offices to serve the needs of existing and new clients in the region.”

James Chen, Pioneer in Electric Transportation and Sustainable Energy, Joins Law Firm Babst Calland’s Washington, D.C. Office

Former transportation executive and veteran regulatory and environmental attorney, James C. Chen, has joined Babst Calland as a Shareholder in the Emerging Technologies practice in the law firm’s growing Washington, D.C. office.

Mr. Chen brings his deep experience in strategic planning and managing legal, policy and regulatory affairs for public and private companies with a focus on emerging technologies in the transportation sector, particularly electrification and sustainable energy.

“A revolution is occurring in the transportation and energy industries – from how we generate and store energy to power various modes of transportation to how those modes are operated with autonomous and artificial intelligence systems to the way we source, process and recycle the minerals needed to enable those modes,” said Mr. Chen. “Moreover, the challenge facing this revolution is not just figuring out how to best power new transportation technology, it’s also about how to best operate the factories that manufacture them.”

For the past decade, in his executive leadership roles for several new transportation technology companies, Mr. Chen was instrumental in the commercialization of modern electric vehicles and the way they are distributed and sold. Most recently, he was Vice President of Public Policy & Chief Regulatory Counsel for Rivian Automotive, LLC and previously, was Vice President of Regulatory Affairs & Deputy General Counsel at Tesla, Inc.

“We are delighted that Jim Chen is now a part of our firm and our Washington, D.C. office,” said Babst Calland Managing Shareholder Donald C. Bluedorn II. “Jim is a great person, and he has an outstanding reputation and track record as a leader in the electric transportation and sustainable energy space. His industry experience and focused approach to providing strategic and creative solutions utilizing new technologies will be a tremendous resource for our clients.”

In addition to managing his own private practice, Mr. Chen previously held other corporate executive positions and was a prominent Washington D.C. attorney in environmental and natural resources law for two different law firms. During his private firm sector tenure of nearly 15 years, he represented a number of established automobile and truck manufacturers, as well as various industry suppliers on environmental and safety regulatory and policy issues affecting the transportation sector. He started his career as an attorney-advisor in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Regulatory Enforcement.

James Chen is admitted to practice in New York and the District of Columbia. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Case Western University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Christopher Etheredge Joins Babst Calland

Christopher S. Etheredge recently joined Babst Calland as an associate in the Litigation Group. Mr. Etheredge has a wealth of experience representing clients in a wide variety of high-stakes litigation and appellate matters involving state and local governments, elected and appointed government officials, complex energy and business litigation, class actions, product and premises liability, medical malpractice, and criminal defense. Recently, he served as counsel to the West Virginia House of Delegates during consecutive legislative sessions, where he drafted and presented legislation to the House Committees on Judiciary, Government Organization, Workforce Development, and Technology and Infrastructure, and regularly counseled House leadership during floor sessions.

Prior to joining Babst Calland, Mr. Etheredge was an associate with Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. He is a 2020 graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law.

The 2023 Babst Calland Report – Legal and Regulatory Challenges and Opportunities for the Energy Industry

Babst Calland today published its 13th annual energy industry report: The 2023 Babst Calland Report – Legal & Regulatory Perspectives for the Energy Industry. The Report provides insights on some of the most critical issues facing the industry.

This edition of The Babst Calland Report also features a special video briefing from U.S. Senator Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, who is at the forefront on federal energy policy.

Joseph K. Reinhart, shareholder and co-chair of Babst Calland’s Energy and Natural Resources Group, said, “The U.S. energy sector remains as dynamic as ever. New energy policies and legislation are changing the regulatory landscape and affecting all parts of the energy value chain. It is more important than ever for energy executives and their counsel to stay on top of federal, state, and local regulatory developments, legal risks, and the related business implications.”

This year’s Report highlights various challenges and opportunities in the energy sector, including:

  • Hydrogen and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) are getting a boost as tools for reducing carbon emissions. The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provided billions in funding in the form of tax credits, grants, and loans for hydrogen and CCS technologies.
  • Climate policy and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-related practices may trigger new reporting requirements imposed by federal and state regulatory agencies. With increased focus on reducing greenhouse gas, particularly methane emissions from the energy industry, several proposed federal agency rules could make ESG reporting mandatory for certain sectors.
  • Environmental Justice (EJ) efforts continue to expand as a priority for federal and state agencies following directives from the Biden Administration. The IRA made about $3 billion in funding available for EJ grants. While adoption of the EPA’s proposed budget for 2024 is far from guaranteed, it demonstrates the current administration’s commitment to funding EJ efforts.
  • Despite the federal government’s policy drive for growth in the low carbon energy sector, practical issues remain. Grid interconnection and project permitting are driving substantial costs and delays. And many of these problems aren’t limited to just renewables, with permitting headwinds facing all types of energy projects, including CCS, pipelines and oil and gas development. Absent significant reforms to reduce permitting timelines and serial litigation, many of these unprecedented federal incentives may go untapped.
  • The Appalachian Basin, like most of the energy producing regions of the U.S., continues to see a variety of novel litigation. The influx of “new” entrants to the energy litigation field has resulted in many new suits asserting variations on traditional energy litigation themes.
  • Pennsylvania’s Amended Breach of Personal Information Notification Act (BPINA) went into effect on May 2, 2023. Any companies that do business in Pennsylvania, maintain data belonging to Pennsylvania residents, or do business with the Commonwealth or its agencies, should become familiar with these new data requirements, and review their security-related policies, practices, and incident response plans to ensure compliance with the Amended BPINA.

To request a copy of The 2023 Babst Calland Report, click here.

The Babst Calland Report is provided for informational purposes for our clients and friends and does not constitute legal advice. 

Diversity & Inclusion: Understanding Implicit Bias and Your Power to Interrupt It

Facilitated by Babst Calland’s marketing team with the Pittsburgh Chapter of Legal Marketing Association (LMA), Executive Director Ena Lebel and Communications Director Megan Edwards of the Pittsburgh Legal Diversity & Inclusion Coalition (PLDIC) presented a training on implicit bias theory and research and why it matters in the legal profession. More than 70 attendees from LMA’s Northeast Region participated in the training with real life scenarios including tools for how to recognize and interrupt such biases personally and professionally in the workplace.

Babst Calland Managing Shareholder Donald Bluedorn Receives Pittsburgh Bureau of Police “Recognition of Excellence” Award

Babst Calland Managing Shareholder Donald C. Bluedorn II recently was honored by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police with the “Recognition of Excellence” Award. The Bureau recognized Mr. Bluedorn for his work in volunteering to teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to active duty City police officers. Mr. Bluedorn also serves as a member of the Pedro Sauer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association’s Board of Governors.

Pictured: Donald Bluedorn with City of Pittsburgh Police Officers

Five Babst Calland Attorneys Named as 2024 Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year”, 37 Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America®, and 18 Named to Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America

Babst Calland is pleased to announce that five lawyers were selected as 2024 Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” in Pittsburgh, Pa. and Charleston, W. Va. (by BL Rankings). Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year,” making this accolade particularly significant.

Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity. Those named to the 2024 Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” include:

James V. Corbelli – Litigation – Environmental in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Blaine A. Lucas, Municipal Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Kevin J. Garber – Natural Resources Law in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Steven B. Silverman – Information Technology Law in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Christopher “Kip” Power – Mining Law in Charleston, W.Va.

View the award recipients here.

In addition, 37 Babst Calland lawyers were selected for inclusion in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® (by BL Rankings), the most respected peer-reviewed publications in the legal profession:

  • Chester R. Babst III – Environmental Law, Litigation – Environmental
  • Donald C. Bluedorn II – Environmental Law, Litigation – Environmental, Water Law
  • Joseph G. Bunn – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law, Mining Law, Banking and Finance Law, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships), Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law
  • Dean A. Calland – Environmental Law
  • Matthew S. Casto – Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Environmental
  • Frank J. Clements – Corporate Law
  • Kathy K. Condo – Commercial Litigation
  • James V. Corbelli Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Environmental
  • James Curry – Energy Law, Oil and Gas Law
  • Julie R. Domike – Environmental Law, Litigation – Environmental
  • Kevin K. Douglass – Natural Resources Law
  • Christian A. Farmakis – Corporate Law, Real Estate Law
  • Leonard Fornella – Admiralty and Maritime Law, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Kevin J. Garber – Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Energy Law, Litigation – Environmental, Water Law
  • Steven M. Green – Energy Law
  • Jennifer Hicks – Energy Law
  • Lindsay P. Howard – Environmental Law, Litigation – Environmental
  • Robert Max Junker Land Use and Zoning Law
  • Stephen I. Korbel Litigation – Labor and Employment
  • Blaine A. Lucas – Energy Law, Land Use and Zoning Law, Municipal Law, Litigation – Land Use and Zoning
  • Christina Manfredi McKinley – Commercial Litigation
  • John A. McCreary – Labor Law – Management
  • Janet L. McQuaid – Environmental Law
  • Timothy M. Miller – Energy Law, Commercial Litigation, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Oil and Gas Law, Litigation – Environmental
  • Jean M. Mosites – Environmental Law
  • Christopher B. “Kip” Power – Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Energy Law, Commercial Litigation, Mining Law, Oil and Gas Law, Litigation – Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy), Litigation – Environmental, Litigation – Land Use and Zoning, Litigation – Municipal, Arbitration
  • Joseph K. Reinhart – Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Energy Law, Litigation – Environmental
  • Bruce F. Rudoy – Corporate Law
  • Charles F.W. Saffer – Real Estate Law
  • Peter H. Schnore – Real Estate Law
  • Mychal Sommer Schulz – Litigation – ERISA
  • Mark D. Shepard – Commercial Litigation, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Litigation – Environmental
  • Steven B. Silverman – Information Technology Law, Commercial Litigation
  • Laura Stone – Corporate Law
  • Robert M. Stonestreet – Environmental Law, Energy Law, Commercial Litigation
  • David E. White – Construction Law, Litigation – Construction
  • Michael H. Winek – Environmental Law

View the award recipients here.

18 Babst Calland lawyers were also named to the 2024 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America which recognizes associates and other lawyers who are earlier in their careers for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States:

  • Susanna Badgasarova – Corporate Law
  • Mary H. Binker – Corporate Law, Real Estate Law, Energy Law
  • Katrina N. Bowers – Energy Law, Environmental Law
  • Carla M. Castello – Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Labor and Employment, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
  • Andrew C. DeGory – Commercial Litigation
  • Nicholas M. Faas – Administrative / Regulatory Law, Government Relations Practice
  • Alexandra G. Farone Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Labor and Employment
  • Marc J. Felezzola – Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Construction
  • Michael E. Fink Corporate Governance and Compliance Law, Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law
  • Alyssa Golfieri – Land Use and Zoning Law, Municipal Law
  • Chelsea R. Heinz Energy Law
  • Sean R. Keegan – Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Labor and Employment
  • Benjamin A. Kift Commercial Litigation
  • Jennifer L. Malik – Land Use and Zoning Law, Municipal Law
  • James D. Mazzocco – Litigation – Environmental, Transportation Law, Construction Law
  • Joseph V. Schaeffer Commercial Litigation
  • Joshua S. Snyder – Commercial Litigation, Energy Law
  • Eric Spada Commercial Litigation

View the award recipients here.

Best Lawyers undergoes an authentication process, and inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® is based solely on peer review and is divided by geographic region and practice areas. The list has published for more than three decades, earning the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 65 countries.

Dave White Recognized in Top 10 Powerhouse Construction Lawyers in Pennsylvania

Attorney David White has been recognized by Business Today among the Top 10 Powerhouse Construction Lawyers Redefining Pennsylvania’s Legal Landscape in 2023. To reach the full article, click here.

Tim Miller Named Among Top 10 Influential Energy & Natural Resources Lawyers in West Virginia

Attorney Timothy Miller has been recognized by Business Today among the Top 10 Influential Energy & Natural Resources Lawyers in West Virginia. Click here to view the full article.

Babst Calland ranks among The Law360 400

Babst Calland has been ranked 354 among the largest 400 U.S. Law Firms. The Law360 400 features the largest U.S.-based law firms and international firms with a U.S. component as measured by domestic attorney headcount.

Mychal Schulz Named “Attorney of the Year” by DTCWV

Shareholder Mychal Schulz was named “Attorney of the Year” by the Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia (DTCWV) at its 41st Annual Meeting on June 19, 2023.  DTCWV provides a cohesive network of West Virginia attorneys who defend individuals and corporations in civil litigation.  Formed in 1981, DTCWV currently has a membership of more than 500 attorneys.