Joshua Claybourn

Attorney, historian, author, and editor. As an attorney Claybourn focuses on intellectual property, state and local government, renewable energy, utilities, and commercial transactions. His research, writing, and editing primarily concern history, law, public policy, and Lincoln's youth in Indiana.

Law Practice

Joshua Claybourn practices law with Jackson Kelly PLLC in Indiana focusing primarily on intellectual property, state and local government, utility regulation, and commercial transactions.

Claybourn's business and commercial law experience includes business acquisitions and dispositions, contracts, and intellectual property. As his firm's intellectual property and licensing practice group leader, he focuses on trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and licenses helping clients develop and implement strategies to promote and foster new intellectual property, protect and maintain existing intellectual property, and avoid intellectual property infringement litigation.

Claybourn’s clients range from small-business owners to Fortune 500 companies with transactions from thousands of dollars to a half-billion dollars. He consults with a range of utilities, renewable energy developers, and government bodies providing specialized consultation on leases, bond financings, zoning and land use, and proceedings for regulatory approvals before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

Claybourn also provides strategic, policy, and political advice to companies seeking to create or improve their market opportunities. Through his many years working with policymakers, Claybourn retains deep connections as well as an impressive track record of building effective coalitions that are essential to shaping legislation and regulation.

Claybourn is a member of the Indiana Municipal Lawyers Association, National Association of Bond Lawyers, the Indiana State Bar Association, and the Evansville Bar Association. He speaks frequently on matters on municipal and constitutional law. He previously served as an adjunct professor at the University of Evansville teaching business organizations (LS 350).

Claybourn earned a juris doctor from Indiana University McKinney School of Law and is admitted to the Indiana state bar and the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Northern Districts of Indiana. Before law school he earned a bachelor of science degree in business economics and public policy from Indiana University Kelley School of Business and, before that, graduated from Evansville North High School.

Lincoln and Historical Scholarship

Claybourn writes frequently on matters of history, law, and public policy with an emphasis on Abraham Lincoln’s youth in Indiana. He is co-editor (with William Bartelt) of Abe’s Youth: Shaping the Future President (Indiana University Press, 2019) and is under contract with Indiana University Press to edit the unpublished manuscript of J. Edward Murr, The Wilderness Years of Abraham Lincoln (forthcoming, 2020). Claybourn frequently serves as host of Lincoln Log, a podcast featuring conversations with leading historians and other officials about their stories, research, and wisdom. He appears as a featured historian in the six-part CNN documentary Lincoln: Divided We Stand.

Claybourn serves on the board of directors of both the Abraham Lincoln Association and Abraham Lincoln Institute, and is a member of The Lincoln Forum, American Historical Society, and Organization of American Historians. He is past chair and a current member of the Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable and first commander and current officer of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War John W. Foster Camp No. 2. He frequently serves as a featured speaker on Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War.

Claybourn is also editor of Our American Story: The Search for a Shared National Narrative (Potomac Books, 2019), a collection of provocative essays by leading thinkers and public figures addressing the same central question—what is the unifying American story? His work on law and policy have appeared in such periodicals as USA Today, The Hill, The American Spectator, and World Magazine. Furthermore, he has appeared as a guest on CNN, MSNBC, and NHK. He also pens book reviews for Kirkus Reviews and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Earlier, he compiled a comprehensive family history in a book titled Born of Clay (2016).

Civic Memberships and Activities

Claybourn is a founding board member and secretary of the Evansville Sports Corp (2010-present), which seeks to promote Evansville, Indiana, as an attractive place to live, work, and visit through sports and sporting events that bring national and regional attention to the area. He is also a former trustee (2006-2009, 2011-2013) of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, including two years as president (2009 and 2012). During his term as president the library earned “5 Star Library” status from the Library Journal, a designation granted to only 1% of the nation’s public libraries. In this role he also served on the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library Foundation Board of Directors (2008-2012). Claybourn is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, & Science, the Newburgh Museum (2014-2016), and Mulberry Center, Inc. (2008-2012). He is an active member of Trinity United Methodist Church.

Active in government and public policy, Claybourn has counseled many political candidates and public policy makers, including as a top adviser in U.S. Congressional races, state legislative races, and municipal campaigns. He served as a member of the transition team for the 34th mayor of Evansville to assist in hiring department heads, including a new chief of police and a fire chief. Claybourn is past chairman of the Government Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Southwestern Indiana and a former member of the Newburgh Plan Commission (2013-2015).