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Joshua Fershee

Joshua Fershee

Professor of Law


  • B.A., Michigan State University
  • J.D., Tulane Law School


Professor Joshua Fershee joined the faculty at West Virginia University College of Law in fall 2012. He is a globally recognized expert in the areas of energy law and policy and business law and entity governance, and serves as Research Faculty and the Head of the Economic and Community Development Group in the Center for Innovation in Gas Research and Utilization, which is located in the  Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. He is also a co-investigator (with John Hu and Cosmin Dumitrescu) on a $1.26M Research Challenge Grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. He served as Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development from June 2015 to June 2018.

Professor Fershee has presented his research in Spain, Poland, and the United Kingdom. His business research focuses of the proper recognition, description, and roles of different entities. Professor Fershee has taught about energy and cyber security in Geneva, Switzerland, and has presented his work discussing the economic, environmental, and social opportunities and challenges related to shale oil and gas development to numerous U.S. audiences and to delegations from multiple countries, including Lithuania, Brazil, South Africa, Mongolia, Ukraine, Colombia, and Indonesia.

His research has appeared in a variety of journals, including the Harvard Journal on Legislation, Harvard Business Law Review Online, William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, and the Energy Law Journal. He is the author of two casebooks, Energy Law, A Context and Practice Casebook (Carolina Academic Press) and Unincorporated Business Entities (5th ed.) (LexisNexus) and recently published a book chapter published by Oxford University Press. He is also a co-editor of the  Business Law Prof Blog.

Professor Fershee began his legal career in New York City, where his practice focused on business law issues, and then moved to Washington, D.C., where his focus was primarily on energy law matters. Before his legal career, Professor Fershee worked for a Washington, D.C.-based trade association comprised of video and computer game companies where he coordinated the media relations program and conducted intellectual property and anti-piracy training sessions for law enforcement officials (e.g., U.S. Customs and FBI), media, and other key audiences. He then served as a public relations professional in the entertainment technology industry specializing in strategic planning, brand management, and crisis communications with two Los Angeles public relations agencies.

Professor Fershee received his J.D. magna cum laude from Tulane Law School, where he was elected Order of the Coif and editor in chief of the Tulane Law Review. He is also a graduate of Michigan State University, where he received a B.A. in Social Science, with a focus on economics, psychology, and sociology. Before joining WVU, Professor Fershee served as Associate Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Research at the University of North Dakota School of Law. Prior to that, he served as a visiting assistant professor of law at Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law in State College, PA. 

Academic Experience

West Virginia University College of Law
Center for Energy and Sustainable Development

  • Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development 06/2015 – 6/2018
  • Professor of Law (with tenure) 07/2014 – present
  • Director, LL.M.: Energy & Sustainable Development Law 12/2013 – present
  • Associate Professor of Law 07/2012 – 07/2014

University of North Dakota School of Law

  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Research, July 2011 – June 2012
  • Associate Professor of Law, August 2010 -June 2011
  • Assistant Professor of Law, July 2007 – August 2010
  • Faculty Development Fellow for Research & Scholarship, April 2009 – June 2011
  • North Dakota Spirit Faculty Achievement Award (2010)

Publications, Research, and Intellectual Contributions

  • Social Enterprise Laws and Director Primacy’s Demise: Risks to Governance and Growth. New York, NY: The CLS Blue Sky Blog: Columbia Law School's Blog on Corporations and the Capital Markets. (2018)
  • The End of Responsible Growth and Governance?: The Risks Posed by Social Enterprise Enabling Statutes and the Demise of Director Primacy (1st ed., vol. 19, pp. 361-90). Knoxville, TN: Transactions, The Tennessee Journal of Business Law. (2018)
  • Light Duty Vehicles: Electric, Hybrid, Hydrogen and Internal Combustion Vehicles, in  Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization. (Washington, DC:, Environmental Law Institute, John Dernbach and Michael B. Gerrard, eds.) (with Amy L. Stein) (forthcoming 2018)
  • Hydrogen in the US and the EU – The Examples of Vehicle Use and Power to Gas, in Academic Advisory Group—2018 Energy Innovation Book (Oxford, U.K., Oxford University Press) (with Ruven Fleming) (2018)
  • Horizontal Drilling, Vertical Problems: Property Law Challenges from the Marcellus Shale Boom (with S. Alex Shay), 49 John Marshall L. Rev 413 (2015) (printed January 2017) (invited) (symposium issue)
  • Natural Gas is Changing the Clean Energy Game, But the Game is Not Over (Response to Felix Mormann , Clean Energy Federalism, 67 Fla. L. Rev. Forum 220 (2016) (invited)
  • How Local Is Local?: A Response to Professor David B. Spence’s The Political Economy of Local Vetoes, 93 Texas L. Rev. See Also 61 (2015) (invited)
  • Facts, Fiction, and Perception in Hydraulic Fracturing: Illuminating Act 13 and Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,116 W. Va. L. Rev. 819 (2014) (invited), cited in Robinson Twp. v. Commonwealth, No. 104 MAP 2014, 2016 WL 5597310, at *39 (Pa. Sept. 28, 2016) (Saylor, J., concurring and dissenting)
  • The End of Responsible Growth and Governance?: The Risks Posed by Social Enterprise Enabling Statutes and the Demise of Director Primacy, 19 Transactions Tenn. J. Bus. L. 361 (2018) (invited) (symposium issue)

In the News:

How a scandal-plagued company gave birth to Kinder Morgan - National Observer (Canada) - 11/14/16

Professor says judge's opinion on implied pooling rights marks departure from state oil and gas law - WV Record - 8/11/16

Problems of Marcellus Drilling (w/ Prof. Patrick McGinley) - The Law Works - 9/25/2014

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