Russell D. Jessee
(304) 353-8103
Office: Charleston
J.D. Washington and Lee University School of Law
B.A. Communication Studies, Virginia Tech
Licensure: DC | VA | WV
See Education


Russell Jessee is the leader of the firm’s Business Litigation Practice Group.  His practice focuses on resolving disputes for business clients.

Mr. Jessee litigates contract disputes for clients in the banking, insurance, healthcare, and gaming industries, among others.  He defends creditors and debt servicers in consumer credit litigation.  He defends businesses in cases involving unfair trade practices, antitrust violations, business fraud, and other business torts.  Most recently, he has been part of the national defense team representing a large pharmaceutical distributor defending lawsuits by state and county officials and agencies making claims about opioid distribution.  

Mr. Jessee represents businesses in disputes before regulatory agencies.  He pursues commercial debtors for commercial creditors, and he pursues medical providers who fraudulently submit claims to health insurers.  Mr. Jessee also defends businesses in difficult employment cases, particularly those involving trade secrets and employment contract issues. 

Mr. Jessee also has significant experience defending class actions.  His practice extends to reviewing contracts during negotiations to increase protections for his clients and to help decrease litigation risk down the road.  Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Jessee was managing editor of The Pocahontas Times, in Marlinton, West Virginia.

Work Experience

2005 Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
1999-2005 Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C.

Speaking Engagements

"e-Discovery Tools and Strategies," 2010 Mountaineer CLE Series, WVU College of Law (September 2010)

"The Taxman Cometh: An Examination of Recent West Virginia Tax Appeal Decisions," Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia Annual Meeting Notebook (June 2009)

Recent "Antitrust Decisions Affecting West Virginia," Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia Annual Meeting Notebook (May 2008)

"Bank Customer Privacy Rights - What Can You Do When Something Seems Wrong?" West Virginia Banker Magazine (Summer 2007)

"Protecting the Employment Rights of Those Who Serve: A Case Law Update on USERRA," Lead Article, The Job Description, Defense Research Institute (Spring 2006)

Note, "Pleading to Stay in State Court: Forum Control, Federal Removal Jurisdiction, and the Amount in Controversy Requirement," 56 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 651 (1999)

Key Experience

Co-lead counsel defending large pharmaceutical distributor in more than 3,000 opioid lawsuits in state and federal courts nationwide; responsibilities include developing arguments for and implementing removal of state court suits to federal court
Lead counsel for large health insurer in a purported class action by a participating network doctor, alleging violations of state statutes governing the relationship between health insurers and network doctors, in which the insurer defeated the plaintiff’s motion to certify a class
Lead counsel for multiple banks, national creditors, and debt servicers in suits brought under the West Virginia Consumer Credit & Protection Act, the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and other consumer protection statutes

Memberships & Awards

The Best Lawyers in America® 2012-2020
Super Lawyers® 2012-2019, Super Lawyers® Rising Star 2009
Defense Research Institute
Business Law Substantive Group, Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia
Judge John A. Field, Jr., American Inn of Court
Accredited Fraud Investigator, University of Charleston, 2009
Order of the Coif, 1999
Graduated summa cum laude, Washington and Lee University School of Law, 1999
Lead Articles Editor, Washington and Lee Law Review, 1998-1999
Thomas Smith Purdie Honor Scholarship, Washington and Lee University School of Law, 1996-1999
West Publishing Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement, 1997, 1998
John W. Eure Award for Excellence in Journalism, Virginia Tech, 1988
Phi Beta Kappa, Virginia Tech, 1988
Graduated summa cum laude, Virginia Tech 1988
Kappa Tau Alpha, National Journalism Scholarship Society, Virginia Tech, 1988