Sharon O. Flanery

Chair, Energy & Natural Resources / Member
Sharon O. Flanery


Sharon Flanery, nationally recognized as a leader in energy and natural resources law, chairs the firm’s Energy & Natural Resources Department. As a lawyer and petroleum engineer with an executive, operating, and legal background in the industry, she brings real-world experience to her practice. This experience includes major acquisitions and divestitures, mineral leases, joint ventures, contract mining agreements, joint operating agreements, sales and marketing agreements, and gathering, transportation, and processing agreements. In addition, she has substantial experience with land and legal due diligence associated with mineral transactions, as well as in the legislative and regulatory arenas. Her general property background includes leases, deeds, rights of way, and land use and damage issues. Sharon’s broad legal, business and operating background also extends to handling issues in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) areas and includes extensive work on diversity, equity, and inclusion committees for the firm and two non-profit boards.

Representative Experience

  • Led property and operational legal team for separation of 150+-year-old public company’s coal and gas operations into two publicly-traded organizations, involving millions of acres and dozens of coal and gas entities
  • Oversee Energy & Natural Resources Department’s complex energy transactions with over $20B total value to date, including personally managing transactions totaling over $7B, in areas of asset and stock transfers, leases, property due diligence, and supply agreements
  • Led team drafting a multi-million dollar supply agreement for the production and sale of biomass to an electric generating plant, which involved traditional contract issues, clean air, and greenhouse gas regulations, potential tax credits and subsidies for renewable energy sources, corporate tax, and intellectual property
  • Drafted legislation on behalf of a Fortune 500 energy client that clarified the requirements for notification of landowners in connection with coalbed methane development
  • Drafted various legislation for deep oil and gas unitization and coalbed methane development

Licensed In

  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia


  • J.D. Duquesne University Kline School of Law
  • B.S. West Virginia University


  • Executive Committee, Institute for Energy Law
  • Chair, Oil and Gas Practice Committee, Institute for Energy Law
  • Member, Energy & Mineral Law Foundation Board of Trustees
  • Past President, Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, 2013-2014
  • Chair, Energy Law Committee, West Virginia State Bar
  • Member, Women’s Energy Network
  • Member, Independent Petroleum Association of America
  • Past Director, North American Coalbed Methane Forum
  • Chair, WVU Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, Visiting Committee
  • Member, WVU Alumni Association Board of Directors
  • Member, WVU Petroleum Engineering Department, Visiting Committee
  • Inaugural Member, Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Academy, WVU Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, 2018
  • Past Board Member, West Virginia Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, The West Virginia Symphony Board of Directors
  • Past Vice President, Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council Board of Directors
  • Governance Fellowship, National Association of Corporate Directors, 2018
  • Duquesne University Law Review


  • Honorary Doctorate, West Virginia University, Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering & Mineral Resources, 2019
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Energy & Natural Resources (2008 – Present)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Administrative / Regulatory Law (2024-Present), Corporate Law (2024-Present), Energy Law (2007-Present), Energy Regulatory Law (2015-Present), Mining Law (2008-Present), Natural Resources Law (2007-Present), Oil and Gas Law (2007-Present)
  • Business Today News: Top 10 Influential Energy & Natural Resources Lawyers in West Virginia, 2023
  • Peer Review Rated™, AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell®, 2023
  • Best Lawyers® 2021 Charleston, WV, Energy Law, Lawyer of the Year
  • West Virginia Bar Foundation Fellow, 2021
  • Best Lawyers® 2020 Charleston, WV, Energy Regulatory Law, Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers® 2019 Charleston, WV, Mining Law, Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers® 2018 Charleston, WV, Oil and Gas Law, Lawyer of the Year
  • John L. McClaugherty Award for Dedication and Service, Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, 2017
  • Best Lawyers® 2016 Charleston, WV, Energy Law, Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers® 2011 Charleston, WV, Lawyer of the Year
  • Super Lawyers®
  • Outstanding Alumni of the Year, WVU Mineral & Energy Resources Department
  • YWCA Woman of Achievement, 2015
  • Law360 Female Powerbroker, 2014

Speaking Engagements

  • Guest Lecturer, Distinguished Lecture Series, WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, 2022
  • Presenter, “Best Practices in Subsidiary Management,” Training Seminar for Industry Client Legal Department Retreat, Kennett Square, PA, September 2015
  • Co-author, “When Worlds Collide: Results of the Rise of Private Equity as the Funding Source of Choice for American Oil and Gas Developer,” Bloomberg BNA, April 2015
  • Panelist, “Gasification of North America Power Panel,” Bloomberg BNA 2015 Future of Energy Conference, New York, NY, April 2015
  • Guest Speaker, All-female Summer Camp, Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, West Virginia University, July 2014
  • “Overview of Pooling Affecting Appalachian Shale Development,” EMLF Annual Institute, May 2011
  • Co-author, “Recent Legal Developments in Carbon Sequestration,” 2008 Society of Petroleum Engineers Eastern Regional/American Association of Petroleum Geologists Eastern Section Joint Meeting
  • Co-author, “The Balancing of Coal and Coalbed Methane Interests Within the Coalbed Methane Statutory Schemes of Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky,” Journal of Natural Resources & Environmental Law, University of Kentucky College of Law, 2004-2005
  • Co-author, “Orphans, Foundlings, and Wards of the State: Plugging Liability for Orphaned and Abandoned Wells in the Eastern United States,” 14 EASTERN MIN. L. INST. ch. 19 (1993)
  • Co-author, “The Use of Minitrials in Mineral Disputes,” 14 EASTERN MIN. L. INST. ch. 9 (1993)
  • Florida v. Riley, 28 DUQ. L. REV 327 (1990)
  • Co-author, “Application of Log-Inject-Log in Granny’s”

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