Joshua Claybourn is an attorney, author, and historian. He 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 also represents cities, towns, and utilities on a broad range of issues, such as economic development projects, bond financings, and proceedings for regulatory approvals before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
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. Click here (pdf) for a curriculum vitae.
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), an annotated edition of Lincoln Inquiry papers. He is under contract with Indiana University Press to edit the unpublished manuscript of J. Edward Murr, The Wilderness Years of Abraham Lincoln (forthcoming, 2020).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 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).
Honors, Awards, and Distinctions
- Donald R. Lundberg Writing Award, a statewide award presented by the Indiana State Bar Association for the top article published in The Network, the official newsletter of the Young Lawyers Section.
- 20 Under 40. Recognized in 2010 by the Evansville Business Journal as one of 20 individuals under the age of 40 who make up the next generation of Evansville area leaders.
- Up and Coming Lawyer. Selected in the first class (2007) of 15 honorees of Indiana Lawyer‘s Leadership in Law Awards. Indiana Lawyer is a leading state-wide publication for attorneys. The “Up and Coming” award is bestowed annually upon an attorney practicing five years or less who demonstrates “achievement in law, involvement in the profession, involvement in support of their community, and mentoring.”
- Moot Court Order of Barristers. Admission granted to the top fourth of Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis moot court competitors.
- Various competitive speech and debate awards, including the 1999 Indiana state policy debate champion, the 2000 Indiana collegiate persuasion champion, and the National Forensic League’s highest degree of distinction.
- New York Times, 6/1/16: “‘I Can Watch It on TV’: Excuses for Republicans Skipping a Donald Trump Convention“.
- City-County Observer, 1/17/11: “Claybourn Stepping Down as Secretary“.
- Evansville Business Journal, September 2010: “20 Under 40” by Carol Wersich.
- The Indiana Lawyer, 7/7/10: “In-house counsel for Vectren Corp. finds role appealing, challenging” by Michael Hoskins.
- Adrian Warnock, 1/23/05: “Interview with Josh Claybourn.”
- Indianapolis Star, 11/16/04: “Tales from the blogosphere” by Abe Aamidor.
- Evansville Courier & Press, 9/29/03: “State educating for export” by Ryan Reynolds.
- Evansville Courier & Press, 7/13/03: “Combating Brain Drain” by Roberta Heiman.
- Herald Times, 12/15/02: “IU senior campaigns for lunch with Brand” by Mike Leonard.
- Evansville Courier & Press, 2/19/99: “No argument here: North debate students make history” by Anne Schleper.