John C. (Max) Wilkinson
Counsel | Vice Chair, Environmental Practice Group
Charleston, WV
office 304.340.3803
mobile 304.382.8277
  • Overview
  • Services
  • Distinctions
  • Admissions
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Community Involvement
  • Resources

Mr. Wilkinson’s primary areas of practice are environmental law and environmental/toxic tort litigation.


  • University of South Dakota, B.S.
  • University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., with distinction


  • Serving as in-house counsel at ICG, LLC, an Appalachia-based coal company, with experience in a wide variety of corporate legal services, principally civil and administrative litigation management, environmental compliance, and mine safety compliance; as well as public securities disclosures and contractual matters involving environmental issues
  • Litigating cases, including research, pleading/brief preparation, discovery, witness preparation, deposition and advocacy duties, with an emphasis in coal related environmental litigation, general litigation and regulatory/administrative practice
  • Serving as one of two Assistant Attorney Generals for the commonwealth of Virginia dedicated to representing the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, with extensive experience in coal mining and water discharge regulatory compliance and enforcement, administrative litigation, and state and federal appellate advocacy
  • Army National Guard, Infantry/ Engineer Officer, 1990 – 2015 (LTC, ret.)
Energy Law Environmental Law Litigation Shale Gas Law Toxic Tort Litigation


  • Nominated by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Environmental Law and Water Law
  • West Virginia Bar Association, Citizen-Soldier Award, 2011
  • Multiple military honors, including the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star Medal, U.S. Army Commendation Medal, U.S. Army Achievement Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, and NATO-ISAF Service Medal, among others


  • West Virginia State Bar
  • Virginia State Bar
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia

Publications & Presentations

  • Co-author, "All Our Yesterdays: The Increasing Risk of Landowner Liability for Legacy Discharges," Chapter 12, Proceedings of the Thirty-Sixth Annual Energy & Mineral Law Institute, The Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, June 2015
  • "Now Is the WOTUS of Our Discontent," IOGA West Virginia newsletter, January 2015
  • "Killing the Economy to Allegedly Save the World: The Present Failure and Future Promise of US Energy Policy," Paper and Presentation as member of National Energy Policy Panel, Appalachian School of Law / Virginia Governor's First Biennial Natural Resources and Energy Law Symposium, September 2013
  • "We Need a Four-O-What?" Clean Water Act Section 404 Permitting and O&G Development, WV IOGA News, April 2012
  • "Fracking Continues to be Target of Regulators and Environmental Groups," WV IOGA News, September 2012
  • Co-presenter, “The Virginia Lands Unsuitable Process: A Case Study of Standing and Injury in Fact,” Kentucky Mineral Law Conference, October 2000

Community Involvement

  • St. Thomas More Catholic Lawyers Society, 2004 – present
  • Associate Advocate - State Council (2013 - 2014), Knights of Columbus, 2008 – present
  • Serra Club, 2010 – present
Currents - Energy Industry Insights: Issue 41, 2018 Currents - Energy Industry Insights: Issue 37, 2018 Currents - Energy Industry Insights: Issue 35, 2018 Currents - Energy Industry Insights: Issue 33, 2018 Currents - Energy Industry Insights: Issue 32, 2018 Currents - Energy Industry Insights: Issue 31, 2018 66 Spilman Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers Currents - Energy Industry Insights: Issue 30, 2018 Currents - Energy Industry Insights: Issue 29, 2018 Currents - Energy Industry Insights: Issue 28, 2018