Specializing in Mineral and Property Law



Balderson Law Office

We are experienced in reporting and interpreting Appalachian coal, oil and gas title and lease issues.

We currently provide services to foster development in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, with a strong focus on title analysis in Monongalia, Marshall, Wetzel, Marion, Preston, Doddridge and Barbour Counties, in West Virginia; Greene, Fayette, Westmoreland and Indiana Counties in Pennsylvania; and counties in central and eastern Ohio.

Why Balderson Law Office?

We offer our clients ’boutique’ services

Each client’s task is overseen by a project manager who provides a personal, professional level of service.

We don’t ‘mass produce’ title opinions

You know who’s working on your project, and you can be confident that the product you receive will be free of the mistakes often caused by inexperience and lack of careful oversight.

We’re approachable with a fast turnaround time

You won’t have to wait hours or days for a returned call or e-mail. We take pride in our responsiveness.

We’re flexible

“No” isn’t a part of our vocabulary. If you have a specific request, we can deliver an individualized product that best suits your needs. The work we do isn’t for our benefit; it’s conducted for and submitted to you, the client.

  • What is your background in Mineral Law?

    We had our beginnings in real property and from there, we branched into mineral law through abstracting and project management. Honing these skills provided a strong foundation for understanding, reviewing and identifying mineral title chains and issues.
    Our title expertise also stems from spending time on the “corporate” side of the energy business, first with developing and leading a title department to later fulfilling land management roles:

    • Conducting land research for mergers, acquisitions, leases and assignments

    • Interpreting maps and agreements to help improve mineral position

    • Understanding and directing Operation’s efforts

    • Ensuring mineral title and control prior to leasing and drilling

  • What do you think makes Appalachian Mineral Law is unique?

    WV and PA property law originated in the Civil War era, compared with Texas, e.g., which has only been developing gas for 20+ years!

    Other distinctions in PA law: It has the “Dunham Rule” (a reservation of “coal and other minerals” is generally not viewed as a reservation of oil and gas); it’s presumed that a conveyance to husband and wife means that they are receiving property as “tenants by the entireties”; and a coal lease to “exhaustion”  is largely seen as a conveyance in fee.

    WV mineral law has its own peculiarities: The “dower” rule wasn’t abolished until 1992: the State has yet to decide what mineral claimant holds title to coalbed methane gas; and early 1900s reservations of “oil and gas royalty” are often viewed as a reservation of the oil and gas in place.

    Balderson Law Firm specializes in complex Appalachian title issues stemming from longstanding law (multiple/conflicting claims, tax sales, unrecorded documents, etc.). We’re well versed in interpreting and reporting these problems in a manner that both makes sense and is manageable.