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Here Come the Attorneys

Out-of-town law firms are moving into Canton, Ohio, seeking to serve clients that are – or will be – tapping into the Utica shale deposit, according to Crain’s Cleveland Business. And, if what has played out in Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale region repeats itself, more will come.

Jackson Kelly PLLC and Steptoe & Johnson PLLC – both based in West Virginia and both specializing in oil-and-gas legal work – have opened Canton, motivated by existing clients who need them here. Jackson Kelly's office opened in June 2012, while Steptoe & Johnson's office opened just last month.

It's likely other law firms will follow.

Jackson Kelly's Canton office is staffed with two full-time attorneys and one part-time lawyer who travels from the firm's Pittsburgh office four days a week. The company’s goal is to grow to five or 10 lawyers within 24 months.

Steptoe & Johnson, which in recent years also opened a Pittsburgh-area office – in part, because of the Marcellus shale ­– employs two attorneys now in Canton a number that may grow to 10 by summer, according to the company.