In This Section


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.  

Memberships & Awards

Honorary Doctorate, West Virginia University, Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering & Mineral Resources, 2019
Governance Fellowship, National Association of Corporate Directors, 2018
Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Academy, Inaugural Member, WVU Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, 2018
Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Band One Leading Lawyer, Natural Resources, 2008-2019
The Best Lawyers in America®, Energy Law (2007-Present), Energy Regulatory Law (2015-Present), Mining Law (2008-Present), Natural Resources Law (2007-Present), Oil and Gas Law (2007-Present)
Best Lawyers® 2021 Charleston, WV, Energy Law, Lawyer of the Year
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
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
Guest Lecturer, Distinguished Lecture Series, WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
Duquesne University Law Review
Graduated cum laude, West Virginia University, Petroleum Engineering (1st Female Graduate in Petroleum Engineering)
WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, Advisory Committee
WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, Visiting Committee
Chair, Energy Law Committee, West Virginia State Bar

Key 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

Work Experience

2004 Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, Charleston, WV
2001-2003 Vice President, Exploration, Columbia Natural Resources, Charleston, WV
1998-2001 AGC, Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., NiSource Corporate Services Company, Charleston, WV
1993-1998 Legal Department, CONSOL Energy, Pittsburgh, PA
1991-1993 Attorney, Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, Pittsburgh, PA
1990-1991 Oil and Gas Consultant
1987-1990 Reservoir & Production Engineering Supervisor, CNG Development, Pittsburgh, PA
1983-1985 Reservoir Engineer, Aramco, Saudi Arabia
1978-1982 Special Projects Engineer, Columbia Gas Transmission, Charleston, WV

Speaking Engagements

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"