I am an attorney, author, and historian. I practice law with Jackson Kelly PLLC in Indiana, advising governmental entities and other businesses on matters of public finance, utility regulation, and commercial transactions.
Understanding practical challenges to government and everyday responsibilities facing municipal corporate counsel, I advise cities and towns, utilities, and regional districts on a broad range of issues. I also advise clients on state and local tax law, zoning and planning, economic development projects, and public finance; I have served as counsel in bond and project financings, including general obligation bonds and utility revenue bonds.
My business law experience includes purchase and sale agreements, health law and physician contracts, and other contract matters. My clients range from small-business owners to Fortune 500 companies with transactions from thousands of dollars to a half-billion dollars.
In addition to my legal practice, I write frequently on matters of history, law, and public policy. I am editor of Our American Story: The Search for a Shared National Narrative (Potomac Books, forthcoming 2019), a collection of provocative essays by leading thinkers and public figures addressing the same central question—what is the unifying American story? I am co-editor (with William Bartelt) of Abe’s Youth: Collected Works from the Indiana Lincoln Inquiry (Indiana University Press, forthcoming 2019), an annotated edition of Lincoln Inquiry papers. Earlier, I compiled a comprehensive family history in a book titled Born of Clay (2016).
My work on policy and politics has appeared in such periodicals as USA Today, The Hill, The Federalist, The American Spectator, and World Magazine. Furthermore, I have appeared as a guest on CNN, MSNBC, and NHK and have been a featured speaker on Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War; much of my research focuses on that conflict and its issues and armies. I also pen book reviews for Kirkus Reviews.
I earned my juris doctor from Indiana University McKinney School of Law and I am admitted to the Indiana state bar and the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Northern Districts of Indiana. Before law school I 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.
Current Professional, Civic, and Community Activities
- Abraham Lincoln Association, 2017 – present
- Organization of American Historians, 2018 – present
- National Book Critics Circle, 2018 – present
- Indiana Municipal Lawyers Association, 2016 – present
- National Association of Bond Lawyers, 2016 – present
- Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable, 2014 – present. Member and past chairman of this group dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of the U.S. Civil War and the stories of those who fought in it.
- Evansville Sports Corp, 2010 – present. Founding board member and secretary for the Evansville Sports Corp (ESC), 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. ESC successfully organized, among other things, 2014 Division II Elite Eight National Basketball Championship, GLVC basketball championships (2012 and 2013), Big 10 men’s golf championships (2015 and 2016), and PGA Web.com Tour events (2012-2016). ESC events have had an estimated economic impact of over $6 million in southwest Indiana and been televised in more than 10 million homes in 193 countries.
- Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 2013 – present. Member and past National Webmaster for the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, a fraternal organization dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of Union veterans. Locally organized John W. Foster Camp No. 2 and served as its first commander.
- Trinity United Methodist Church, 2013 – present. Member of church council, communications team leader, and active participant in Wesley Advocates adult Sunday-school class.
Past Professional, Civic, and Community Activities
- Board of Directors, Newburgh Museum, 2014 – 2016.
- Adjunct Professor, University of Evansville, 2013. Taught Business Organizations (LS 350), a course on the legal organization of business entities.
- Board of Trustees, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, 2006 – 2009, 2011 – 2013. Past president (2009 and 2012), treasurer (2008), and trustee for library system holding nearly one million items and a budget in excess of $10 million. During 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.
- Board of Directors, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library Foundation, 2008 – 2012.
- Newburgh Plan Commission, 2013 – 2015.
- Transition Team, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, 2012. Member of transition team for the 34th mayor of Evansville to assist in hiring department heads, including a new chief of police and a fire chief.
- Board of Directors, Mulberry Center, Inc., 2008 – 2012.
- Central Committee, Vanderburgh County Republican Party, 2007 – 2011. Past Treasurer (2007-2008) and Secretary (2009-2011) of the chief Republican political organization in Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana.
- Board of Directors, Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science, 2010.
- Chairman, Government Affairs Committee, Chamber of Commerce of Southwestern Indiana, 2010.
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.