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.
In addition to his legal practice, Claybourn writes frequently on matters of history, law, and public policy. He is 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? 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. Earlier, he compiled a comprehensive family history in a book titled Born of Clay (2016).
Claybourn’s work on policy and politics has 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 and has been a featured speaker on Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War; much of his research focuses on that conflict and its issues and armies. He also pens book reviews for Kirkus Reviews.
Claybourn currently serves on the board of directors of the Abraham Lincoln Association. He is past chair and a current member of the Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable; first commander and current officer of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War John W. Foster Camp No. 2; and a member of both the The Lincoln Forum and Organization of American Historians. 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.
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.
Legal & Civic Memberships and Activities
- Indiana Municipal Lawyers Association, 2016 – present
- National Association of Bond Lawyers, 2016 – present
- 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.
History & Literary Leadership
- Abraham Lincoln Association. Board member (2019 – present) and member (2017 – present) of the nation’s oldest and largest group dedicated to advancing studies on Abraham Lincoln and disseminating scholarship about Lincoln.
- The Lincoln Forum, 2018 – present
- Organization of American Historians, 2018 – present
- National Book Critics Circle, 2018 – 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.
- 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.
- Trustee of the 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.
- Past Member of the Board of Directors, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library Foundation, 2008 – 2012.
- Past Member of the Board of Directors, Newburgh Museum, 2014 – 2016.
- Past Member of the Board of Directors, Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science, 2010.
Other Past Professional, Civic, and Community Activities
- Adjunct Professor, University of Evansville, 2013. Taught Business Organizations (LS 350), a course on the legal organization of business entities.
- Trinity United Methodist Church. Past member of church council and active participant in Wesley Advocates adult Sunday-school class.
- 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.
- 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.