W. Henry Lawrence


Hank Lawrence focuses his practice on energy and environmental litigation. He represents clients before federal, state, and appellate courts and administrative agencies in civil, criminal, and penalty proceedings. In addition, he provides client counseling and advice in permitting, compliance, and transactional matters involving energy and environmental statutes and regulations. Mr. Lawrence previously served as Head of the firm’s Litigation Department.

Representative Experience

  • Litigated Marcellus shale well claims on surface use, ownership, drilling rights, pooling, and lease interpretation
  • Defended gas well hydraulic fracturing damage claims
  • Defended major energy producers against claims that leasehold rights were limited to sands and drilling methods known in 1900
  • Obtained leasing rights through co-tenancy statute, partition, and missing heir petitions
  • Defended class action cases on royalty payments
  • WV Supreme Court decisions on duty to develop/protect from drainage and scope of mineral leasehold rights
  • US Fourth Circuit decisions on the scope of Marcellus rights
  • Mass tort claims relating to fluid disposal wells and permit discharges
  • Jury trials and defense of corporations and management officials prosecuted for criminal violations of federal environmental laws
  • Prosecuted dozens of preliminary and permanent injunctions to halt interference with gas transmission pipelines and well access disputes
  • Defended multi-million dollar arbitration claims in a coal dispute for contract breach and tortious interference
  • Litigated claims for property contamination and CERCLA cleanup actions
  • Prosecuted drilling, mining, quarry, and water permit appeals and defended subsidence and blasting claims, NOVs, and cessation orders
  • Defended mass tort claims for mining and drilling-related water and property damages, including medical monitoring
  • Class action defense of gas line replacement and burial depth issues

Licensed In

  • West Virginia


  • J.D. William & Mary Law School
  • B.S. Duke University


  • Vice Chair, Board of Directors – United Hospital Center
  • United Way
  • Board of Trustees – The Nature Conservancy (West Virginia Chapter)
  • Former Trustee, Energy and Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF)
  • The Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law
  • Fellow, West Virginia Bar Foundation


  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Energy & Natural Resources (2021-Present)
  • Peer Review Rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Bet-the-Company Litigation (2024-Present), Commercial Litigation (2008-Present), Energy Law (2009-Present), Environmental Law (2001-Present), Litigation- Environmental (2011-Present), Litigation- Real Estate (2013-Present), Natural Resources Law (2008-Present), Oil and Gas Law (2010-Present)
  • Best Lawyers® 2024 Morgantown, WV, Natural Resources Law, Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers® 2024 Morgantown, WV, Energy Law, Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers® 2020 Morgantown, WV, Energy Law, Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers® 2018 Morgantown, WV, Litigation, Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers® 2016 Morgantown, WV, Energy Law, Lawyer of the Year
  • Super Lawyers®

Speaking Engagements

  • “Leadership Traits,” Lawyer Leadership Institute, WV Bar Foundation (Stonewall Resort) May 2022
  • Lawyer Leadership Institute, WV Bar Foundation (Stonewall Resort) May 2021
  • “Shale Gas Law 2016 – Litigation Update”, WVU College of Law CLE (Morgantown), November 2016
  • “Hot Topics and Future Disputes,” Litigation Update Panel, IEL 7th Law of Shale Plays Conference (Pittsburgh) September 2016
  • “Litigation Update Panel,” IEL 5th Law of Shale Plays Conference (Pittsburgh) September 2014
  • “Horizontal Well Act & the Pre-Emption Issue,” WVONGA Shale Alliance/Unconventional Gas Meeting (Bridgeport) April 2014
  • “EPA Investigations,” Energy Leadership Summit (Southpointe) September 2013

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