Utica Shale Brings Law Firms to Canton
Utica Shale development has brought many new businesses to Ohio and two of those are law firms. Steptoe & Johnson PLLC and Jackson Kelly PLLC have both opened offices in Canton in the past year because of Ohio’s growing oil and gas industry. While both firms have come to specialize in energy, they plan to expand into full service firms in the future.
Steptoe & Johnson’s Canton office is their second Ohio location and their twelfth overall with offices in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia. The Canton location opened last month and will service their growing number of energy clients with operations in the Utica Shale. The office will be staffed at 13 attorneys and additional paralegal and support staff. They will transfer attorneys to the location as well as hire locally. The firm also opened a Pittsburgh-area office in recent years partly due to development of the Marcellus Shale. The Pittsburgh Business Times reported on a “historic influx of out-of-town law firms” last July after six law firms entered southwest Pennsylvania between December 2011 and July 2012, mostly attributed to Marcellus shale activity.
Dan Kostrub will transfer from the Steptoe & Johnson’s Wheeling office to be Canton’s Managing Member. He spoke exclusively with Energy in Depth on his firm’s Ohio business and what it means for the rest of the state:
We’ve seen an increase in development throughout our footprint, and in particular, with Ohio/Utica shale development in the past year. Many of our clients are now working in the Canton area or planning to increase their operations here and we’re talking regularly with others who intend to do so. Both the pace and the scale of oil and gas development has picked up appreciably in the last year in this part of Ohio. In addition, our clients are using more services as they begin their drilling programs, so all signs seem to point to positive economic development for the region for some time to come—Daniel Kostrub, Steptoe & Johnson
Jackson Kelly’s Canton office is staffed with two full-time attorneys and one part-time lawyer who travels from the firm’s Pittsburgh office four days a week. The firm hopes to grow to five or ten attorneys in the next 24 months. Michael Foster, CEO of Jackson Kelly explained in Crain’s Cleveland Business that there are short term opportunities in leasing and title work, but they expect to stick around. He said as infrastructure and facilities are built, there will be additional demand for legal work.
Ohio’s shale development has already created an estimated 39,000 jobs and encouraged new industries to come to the state. It is no surprise that the oil and gas industry is building business in the legal field as well.