At Claire Sergent Walls (CSW) Legal Group, we provide a complete range of legal services to our clients within the Marcellus and Utica shale plays and beyond. Our firm is dedicated to helping our exploration and production, and midstream pipeline and mineral investment clients reach their goals in a thorough and timely fashion. We possess the legal expertise, experience, level of regionalized knowledge, and attention to detail required to handle land and legal challenges in the evolving energy market.
Trust Earned by Consistent Performance
Our attorneys share one common goal: complete client satisfaction through unmatched service.
CSW Legal Group was founded in 2008 by Claire Sergent Walls to provide competent, experienced legal service for difficult land and mineral title and transactional issues. CSW has since grown and established a reputation for providing unmatched title opinions for Operators within the Appalachian region. Each attorney at CSW has the expertise and focused knowledge to perform at the highest level. We understand the unique intricacies of Appalachian title and apply our efforts to provide streamlined title opinions.
Our founder and principal, Claire Sergent Walls, has over a decade of experience in real estate and energy law. Claire is licensed to practice law in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, focusing on oil and gas, coal and surface title analysis, including certified title opinions, due diligence, acquisitions and mineral and commercial real estate transactions. She earned her undergraduate, graduate and law degrees from West Virginia University.
We have great pride in our work and take nothing at face value to ensure accuracy. Our attorneys are expert researchers and leave no stone unturned.
A Solid Foundation
- Energy and Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF)
- American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL)
- Michael Late Benedum Chapter of AAPL
- Women’s Energy Network Appalachian Chapter
- Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia
- American Land Title Association (ALTA)
- West Virginia State Bar Association
- Pennsylvania State Bar Association
- Ohio State Bar Association
Claire is the owner and principal attorney of the Claire Sergent Walls Legal Group. She started the firm in 2008 after working in oil and gas and real estate in Appalachia, both for an oil and gas land services company and a small law firm. Her legal experience is grounded in oil and gas and real estate title and transactions.
As the leader of CSW Legal Group, she has managed large-scale certified title projects across Appalachia, both for operators and mineral investors. Most importantly, she is fortunate to manage and support a small but powerful group of brilliant title attorneys and staff, all of whom make it possible for the firm to serve its clients at the highest level.
She is a three-time graduate of West Virginia University, having obtained undergraduate, graduate and law degrees at the state institution. She is a member of, and supports multiple organizations in her industry, including the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF), the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL), as well the Michael Late Benedum Chapter of AAPL (MLBC). She is also a member of the Northern Appalachian Landman Association (NALA) and West Virginia Independent Oil and Gas Association (IOGA)
She is licensed to practice law in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Aimee is a 2008 graduate of West Virginia University College of Law. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Aimee is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, with experience performing mineral title examinations and preparing certified title opinions regarding surface, coal, oil, and gas ownership in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Aimee is a member of is a member of the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF).
Morgan Griffith has worked as in-house counsel for both production and transmission companies in the Appalachian basin and understands the issues and tensions between various parties as they acquire, utilize, or divest their land rights. Griffith has also taken and passed the AAPL’s CPL examination and she is a certified professional landman. At the firm, she works as a liaison between multiple parties (landowners, oil and gas companies, coal companies, state and federal agencies, and other groups) to further clients’ land interests.
Travis Britton is a 2013 graduate of West Virginia University College of Law and has been admitted to the bar for the State of West Virginia and for the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. He also graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2010. Travis has over 4 years of oil and gas title experience in West Virginia and surrounding states.
Ambria Britton is a 2012 graduate of West Virginia University College of Law and has been admitted to the bar for the State of West Virginia and for the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. She also graduated from Marshall University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Counseling. Ambria has practiced Social Security Disability law for the past six years and has represented over 1,000 clients in West Virginia and surrounding states.
“Northeast Natural Energy has consistently relied on the services of Claire Sergent Walls Legal Group, PLLC, for the last three years. For a natural gas exploration & production company to succeed in the highly competitive and volatile energy industry, reliability, accuracy, attention to detail and speed are required. We have found all four of those important qualities in CSW’s certified title opinions.”
— Jeannie Morgan Johnson, Vice President – Land Operations, Northeast Natural Energy
Accuracy Guided by Focused Insight
We strive to ensure thorough outcomes and fully vetted opinions.
We help Exploration & Production and Midstream Pipeline Companies reach their objectives because we provide solutions to their challenges. Our firm has streamlined processes where every attorney and support person possesses an advanced knowledge of title issues, a position that makes it possible for us to quickly identify the problems our clients face and provide the solutions they need. Whether we are securing title for asset acquisition or drilling, or drafting transactional agreements and documents, our firm helps energy companies stay on course. You can have confidence in our expertise and consideration of your time and budget.
At CSW, we thoroughly analyze and communicate your ownership position through efficiently crafted title opinions that detail ways to fix your title problems and provide an analysis of risk. We stay with you during the curative process whether the problem is easily solved by the creation of deeds, lease amendments or estate probates or it is a complex issue requiring litigation.
If your need is transactional, we address and resolve issues quickly and provide a smooth closing procedure that occurs within your contractual timeline.
Certified Title Opinions
We have many years of experience in the difficult title areas of Appalachia and can efficiently analyze and assess ownership to land and minerals. Our title opinions tell you who owns the asset, how they acquired it and who has the rights to operate it. We also tell you what the title defects are and propose practical solutions to resolve them. We provide certified drilling opinions, supplemental title opinions, pre-lease title opinions, division order title opinions and other title opinions within the scope identified by the client.
Land Acquisition Transactions
We can handle all transactions involving rights-of-ways and easements for interstate and intrastate pipelines, as well as fee acquisitions of lands for facilities including storage facilities, processing plants and gathering systems. We coordinate with sellers, purchasers and lenders for the preparation and delivery of all closing documents and we conduct closings. We also control and manage payment and allocation of real estate taxes and utilities as well as the distribution of sale proceeds
Curative Document Preparation
We prepare or review your deeds, lease amendments and other documents required to remove title defects. We also assist with administration and probate of wills and estates and conduct court petitions and litigation to solve more complex curative issues. We can also prepare all right of way agreements, joint venture agreements, acquisition agreements and surface title opinions related to pipelines and storage fields.
Division Order Title Opinions
We are well-versed in the preparation of division order title opinions that provide royalty and ownership calculations on a tract, lease and unit basis.
Our team can assess the status of title of your proposed asset, identify defects and prepare communications to assist you with risk analysis and negotiations on pipeline mergers and acquisitions.
Oil and Gas Title Litigation
If your title issue requires a more complex solution, we can initiate and conduct litigation for receivership leases, quiet title actions, partition actions and other related matters.
We handle purchase and sale transactions of minerals and real estate including document preparation, closing services and recordation of documents.
Stay in the know.
01 Oct 2018
Morgan Griffith, CPL Attorney, Claire Sergent Walls Legal Group What started out as a lawsuit to get paid for work performed turned into a groundbreaking case in Ohio for landmen. Instead of telling Eric Petroleum to pony up the money it owed to landman Thomas Dundics, the Ohio Supreme Court determined that oil and gas land professionals who help obtain oil and gas leases for oil and gas development companies must be licensed real estate...Read More
01 Oct 2018
Morgan Griffith, CPL Attorney, Claire Sergent Walls Legal Group The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals is the highest state court in West Virginia. Its offices are located at the State Capital in Charleston. There are five justices, and they are elected officials. Until 2015, the candidates ran on either the democratic, republican or independent tickets. Now elections are non-partisan. The five justices serve 12 years each, and their...Read More
12 Mar 2018
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says he is going to sign the recently passed bill, known as “the co-tenancy bill” (HB 4268), which will allow oil and natural gas operators to begin operations on a tract once they have obtained lease agreements with at least 75 percent of the tract’s owners. This is a change from the previous law, which required that operators obtain leases from 100 percent of oil and gas owners of a tract of oil and...Read More
01 Mar 2017
Do they know what they’re doing?The secret of a truly great oil and gas title firm? Simple: the firm’s experience is primarily focused on oil, gas and mineral title and related issues -- and always has been. The difficult issues encountered in mineral titles are rarely new to experienced oil and gas title attorneys, so they don’t have to spend precious time (and money!) spinning their wheels. How long have they been focused on mineral...Read More
06 Feb 2017
Every attorney’s certified title opinion should contain a list of title defects. As those of us in the oil and gas land business are aware, very few tracts have clean titles, and oil and gas ownership (especially in Appalachia) almost always has something wrong with it. But what separates the most valuable title opinions from title opinions of lesser value is the presence of solutions to the title defects and assessment of the...Read More
29 Jan 2017
Mineral buying is speculative business due to inherent fluctuations in the energy market. Along with the financial risks of a mineral purchase as an investment, there are also title risks. When buying minerals in Appalachia, title risks should be taken very seriously. Mineral buyers are adept at controlling and minimizing financial risks by performing due diligence in order to assess future revenue prospects. They perform analysis on the...Read More
22 Jan 2017
The current state of commodities value has created an environment in which oil and gas assets are on the market. However, the fire sale, “as-is,” and “quick close” mentality may not be the best approach to such transactions. If you do not consider the condition of the title of the assets you are buying in West Virginia and factor that into your acquisition cost, you may be in for a disappointing and costly surprise when the time comes for...Read More
17 Jan 2017
The oil and gas is owned by a trust, but your lease is not from an individual or individuals identified as the trustee or trustees of the trust. The executor of a will was given a directive by the testator (not just discretion) to “sell everything” and sold everything except the oil and gas and the estate has been closed for many years. The grantor in a deed reserves the “right to receive rentals” only. The oil and gas...Read More
16 Feb 2016
When the energy market is on fire like it was in recent years, exploration and production companies are moving fast. They are leasing, putting units together and drilling wells at impressive speed. Along the way, they ensure that title is secured by performing pre-lease title searches, obtaining certified title opinions from attorneys and curing title defects. When there is a tract along the way that presents serious title problems, that tract...Read More
28 Jan 2016
Why Our Small, Established Oil and Gas Law Firm is the Best Choice for Your Appalachian Title Project
Clients are valuedWe consider it an honor to be chosen to serve our clients. When analyzing a title, preparing a title opinion for a client, or taking a title matter to a judge, we keep in mind all possible ramifications of legal issues and we communicate the risks and offer solutions to problems in order to protect our clients. We provide what is needed and desired in our representation. We do not simply recite the information contained...Read More
20 Aug 2015
When you’re looking a for a law firm to represent you and your land interests in the Marcellus or Utica Shale play in Appalachia, it is vital that the firm have the proper experience and ability to competently navigate complex land and legal issues in the dynamic Appalachian energy market. Before you hire a title attorney or law firm, here are five questions you should take into consideration: Do they have experience in creating...Read More
We provide detailed, reliable, accurate, and timely services.
63 Wharf Street #200
Morgantown, WV 26501
Office - (304) 225 1108
Cell - (304) 319 1291