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.
Joshua A. Claybourn, a member of Jackson Kelly PLLC, specializes in intellectual property, renewable energy, utilities, commercial transactions, and state and local government. His practice thrives on a deep-rooted curiosity about business and people. Active listening, continuous learning, and timely guidance characterize his approach to executing business strategies.
Serving as the firm's group leader for intellectual property and licensing, Claybourn advises on matters including trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and licensing. He diligently safeguards the integrity and commercial viability of brands and IP assets. His experience include successfully negotiating and litigating various IP infringements, licenses, and transfer agreements in the realms of business, banking, entertainment, and publishing. The World IP Review (WIPR), an exhaustive guide to top-notch intellectual property lawyers worldwide, acknowledges him as a trademark "Leader."
Claybourn's clientele spans small entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 behemoths. He takes the helm as lead counsel for business formations, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and economic development projects. Beyond conventional municipal finance transactions, he tackles more complex, demanding projects that encompass public-private partnerships and state and local incentive packages. He also represents municipalities and government units in matters of utility, annexation, reorganization, funding, and budgeting.
Before joining Jackson Kelly, Claybourn sharpened his skills in utility law while working in-house at a major publicly traded energy company. Now, he consults with renewable energy developers, municipal water and sewer utilities, and industrial consumers. He handles supply agreements, contract disputes, leases, bond financings, zoning and land use, and regulatory approvals and rate cases, with his rate case experience varying from the largest to the smallest utilities in the state.
Claybourn holds memberships with the Indiana Municipal Lawyers Association, National Association of Bond Lawyers, the Indiana State Bar Association, and the Evansville Bar Association. Frequently, he lends his voice to discussions on municipal and constitutional law. His past contributions include serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Evansville, where he taught business organizations (LS 350).
After earning a bachelor of science degree in business economics and public policy from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, and graduating from Evansville North High School, Claybourn pursued his juris doctor from the Indiana University McKinney School of Law. He is admitted to the Indiana state bar and the U.S. District Courts for both the Southern and Northern Districts of Indiana.
Lincoln and Historical Scholarship
Joshua Claybourn frequently pens insights on history, law, and public policy, with a particular emphasis on the early years of Abraham Lincoln in Indiana. He served as the editor for The Wilderness Years of Abraham Lincoln (Indiana University Press, 2022), and joined forces with William Bartelt as co-editor of Abe’s Youth: Shaping the Future President (Indiana University Press, 2019). Beyond print, Claybourn can often be found hosting Lincoln Log, a podcast that sparks conversations with leading historians and other officials, drawing out their stories, research, and wisdom. His expertise as a historian found a platform in the six-part CNN documentary "Lincoln: Divided We Stand," where he featured prominently.
In his service roles, Claybourn sits on the board of directors for both the Abraham Lincoln Association and Abraham Lincoln Institute. He maintains memberships with The Lincoln Forum, American Historical Society, and Organization of American Historians. He's a past chair and an active member of the Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable and the first commander and a current officer of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War John W. Foster Camp No. 2. Audiences regularly experience Claybourn's speeches on Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War.
Additionally, Claybourn has his editorial mark on Our American Story: The Search for a Shared National Narrative (Potomac Books, 2019). This collection of provocative essays by leading thinkers and public figures grapples with the question—what's the unifying American story? His writings on law and policy have found homes in prominent periodicals like USA Today, The Hill, The American Spectator, and World Magazine. He's also frequented television newsrooms, appearing as a guest on CNN, MSNBC, and NHK. Claybourn contributes book reviews for Kirkus Reviews and is an esteemed member of the National Book Critics Circle. He undertook the hefty task of compiling a comprehensive family history, culminating in the publication of Born of Clay (2016).
Civic Memberships and Activities
Joshua Claybourn earned recognition as one of the state's 250 most influential business leaders in the inaugural year of the award by the Indianapolis Business Journal. He holds a board position with Indiana Landmarks, the largest private statewide historic preservation organization in America. This organization breathes life back into historic buildings, brokers vacant and endangered properties, and champions the preservation of historic places throughout Indiana via grants, loans, and advocacy programs.
Claybourn is not just a board member, but a founding one for the Evansville Regional Sports Commission, where he has also served as secretary since 2010. The commission's mission is to showcase Evansville, Indiana, as an appealing place to live, work, and visit by hosting sports events that garner national and regional attention. His board membership extends to WNIN, an independent nonprofit PBS/NPR station that serves Evansville, Henderson, and Owensboro.
His past service includes a trusteeship (2006-2009, 2011-2013) with the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, where he led as president in 2009 and 2012. Under his presidency, the library achieved a prestigious "5 Star Library" rating from the Library Journal, an honor bestowed upon just 1% of public libraries nationwide. Additionally, he contributed to the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library Foundation Board of Directors from 2008 to 2012.
Claybourn's previous board memberships include the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, & Science, the Newburgh Museum (2014-2016), and Mulberry Center, Inc. (2008-2012).
On the political front, Claybourn actively participates in government and public policy. He has offered counsel to numerous political candidates and public policy makers, even playing the role of top advisor in U.S. Congressional races, state legislative contests, and municipal campaigns. He was a member of the transition team for Evansville's 34th mayor and a past chairman of the Government Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Southwestern Indiana. His civic engagement includes a stint on the Newburgh Plan Commission from 2013 to 2015.