James W. Heslep
(304) 933-8192
Office: Bridgeport
J.D. West Virginia University
B.A. William & Mary
Licensure: WV
See Education


James "Mac" Heslep defends employers against claims of work-related injury and illness.  His practice began with a focus on the defense of state workers’ compensation claims.  Since 2004, he has defended more than 2,000 protests before the West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Office of Judges.  He has extensive experience in appellate practice of state workers’ compensation matters before the West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Board of Review and the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.  In the past few years, his practice has expanded to the federal level through representation of coal operators and insurers covered by the Black Lung Benefits Act.  He has practiced before the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Administrative Law Judges, and the Benefits Review Board.

With this background, Mac began applying his experience in administrative benefit proceedings to other employment matters related to claims of occupational injury and illness.  He now regularly counsels employers on the interaction of state workers’ compensation, FMLA, and ADA.  His primary goal in all matters is achieving favorable resolutions of administrative benefit claims in coordination with related employment matters, including workers’ compensation discrimination claims and deliberate intent claims.

Work Experience

2004 Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

Speaking Engagements

“Safely Implementing Safety Incentive Programs, Labor & Industrial Insights Magazine (January/February 2015)

“Trends in Managed Care Regulation,” SEAK National Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Medicine Conference (July 2012)

“Managed Care Compliance in West Virginia,” West Virginia University Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health Grand Rounds (June 2012)

“FMLA, ADA and Workers’ Compensation,” West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner First Annual Workers’ Compensation Education Seminar (May 2010)

Author “How to Stay Legal Even if Your Employees Aren’t," Mountain State Manufacturing (Cover Article Summer 2007)

Key Experience

Defended national energy client in multiple claims of laboratory chemical exposure in which four employees claimed exposure to multiple chemicals resulting in Parkinson’s-like symptoms, cognitive deficits, and occupational asthma
Defended coal operator in eight state workers’ compensation claims for permanent total disability. These claims held reserved values between $400,000.00 and $600,000.00.
Defended multi-national manufacturer in state workers’ compensation claim for chemical exposure and related civil matter for deliberately intended exposure

Memberships & Awards

The Best Lawyers in America® 2013-2016
Best Lawyers® 2016 Morgantown, WV, Workers’ Compensation Law-Employers, Lawyer of the Year
West Virginia State Bar Workers' Compensation Commission
West Virginia State Bar Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Committee (2011-2014)
The State Journal, Generation Next 40 Under 40 (2008)
Leadership Harrison (2007-2008)