Faculty and Staff

James M. Van Nostrand


James M. Van Nostrand Professor James M. (Jamie) Van Nostrand joined the faculty of the West Virginia University College of Law in July of 2011 to serve as the Director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. Professor Van Nostrand came to the WVU College of Law from the Pace Law School in White Plains, NY, where he served as Executive Director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center.

Barton Z. Cowan


Barton Z. Cowan Barton Z. Cowan, Visiting Professor, serves as Senior Counsel for the firm Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School cum laude, and an A.B., with distinction and honor from the University of Michigan. He has been involved in legal matters relating to nuclear power and power generation facilities, focusing on licensing and regulation issues. He has testified on numerous occasions as an expert witness on nuclear power licensing and regulation. He has also counseled clients in the corporate and labor law areas. Courses taught include Business Transactions Drafting, and Energy Law.

Patrick C. McGinley


Patrick McGinleyProfessor Patrick McGinley is a graduate of Dickinson College and the Duke University School of Law where he was a member of the Duke Law Journal Editorial Board. Professor McGinley served as a law clerk to a Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and as a Special Assistant Attorney General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Environmental Strike Force. In the latter position he was engaged in environmental enforcement and mine safety litigation.

Alison Peck


Alison PeckAlison Peck teaches and writes in the area of sustainable development, including environmental and trade law, with special focus on agriculture and food law. 

Professor Peck practiced international arbitration and commercial litigation with Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in Washington, D.C. She clerked for Judge Jon O. Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Judge G. Federico Mancini of the Court of Justice for the European Communities. She received a J.D. from Yale Law School and an LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.

Jesse Richardson


Jesse RichardsonJesse J. Richardson, Jr. is the Lead Land Use Attorney at the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic and Professor of Law at the West Virginia University College of Law. Before coming to WVU, Jesse was an Associate Professor in Urban Affairs and Planning at Virginia Tech, teaching land use law, environmental law, urban growth management and real estate. His research and experience focuses on land use law and water law. Prior to his academic endeavors, Jesse was in private practice in his home town of Winchester, Virginia, first with a large law firm, then as a solo practitioner. 

He presently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Agricultural Law Association, the Universities Council on Water Resources and the National Cave and Karst Research Institute. He previously served on the Virginia Farmland Protection Task Force and the Virginia Water Policy Technical Advisory Committee. Jesse was honored with the 1999 Professional Scholarship Award from the American Agricultural Law Association, the 2004 William E. Wine Award for a history of teaching Excellence from Virginia Tech (the highest teaching award granted by the university), and the 2009 University Certificate of Excellence in Outreach. He has worked with communities in West Virginia and Virginia on land use planning issues, including issues related to karst and water resources. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Tim Cronin


WVU Law Tim Cronin

Tim Cronin is a Fellow with WVU Law's Center for Energy and Sustainable Development

A native of Buckhannon, West Virginia, Tim is working with fellow Mountaineers to identify opportunities to create jobs and diversify the state economy by ramping up renewable energy and energy efficiency installations in West Virginia. Tim is the lead author of West Virginia’s Energy Future: Ramping up Renewable Energy to Decrease Costs, Reduce Risks, and Strengthen Economic Opportunities for West Virginia. Tim additionally researches and promotes the opportunity for West Virginia to become a leader in innovation within the low-emission manufacturing and industrial sector.

In his private law practice, Tim advises people, organizations, investors, and companies as they develop projects and deploy technologies to reduce emissions – including in the energy, transportation, building, and industrial sectors. In California, Tim conceptualized, drafted, and negotiated the agreements to implement the Oakland Clean Energy Initiative, which is replacing a jet fuel-fired power plant with over 40 megawatts of battery storage resources in downtown Oakland, California, including 500 kilowatts to be installed on affordable housing. Tim additionally took a leading role in negotiating the power purchase agreement and the sale of the 200 megawatt Wright Solar Project, the construction of which employed 400 union workers in Merced County, California, including operating engineers, iron workers, carpenters, and electricians.

Before attending law school, Tim worked at the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) in Washington, DC, where he promoted international partnerships among government actors, renewable energy companies, and financiers as the organization's manager of international programs. He has significant experience in the People's Republic of China, having studied at Peking University in 2006, taught English in Jiangsu Province in 2008, and managed ACORE's U.S.-China Program from 2009 to 2011.

Tim is a graduate of Buckhannon-Upshur High School and the West Virginia Governor’s Honors Academy. He earned his B.A. in 2007 from American University and his J.D. in 2014 from the University of California, Berkeley. Tim and his soon-to-be wife divide their time between Buckhannon, WV and South San Francisco, CA – “The Industrial City”.

Samantha Stefanov

Office Administrator 

Samantha StefanovSamantha Stefanov is the Office Administrator for WVU Law and for the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development (CESD). She helps plan and organize all CESD events, including the annual National Energy Conference and the National Energy & Sustainability Moot Court Competition.