attorney at law

David McMahon

Dave is originally from Wheeling West Virginia.  He graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1972.  He went to law school at George Washington University in Washington D.C. and graduated in 1975. 

Dave now has a part-time private practice representing small and medium landowners on oil and gas issues. He also works part-time for the public interest law firm, Mountain State Justice, for whom is a registered lobbyist. 

From 1975 to 2008 he worked as a Legal Aid lawyer representing low income people in civil matters such as consumer, landlord tenant and domestic relations law. While there he wrote the West Virginia Surface Owner’s Guide to Oil and Gas.

He has lobbied the West Virginia Legislature on his issues since 1981.  In the late 1970's during the Arab Oil Embargo he was the Legal Aid lawyer for Clay County West Virginia.  Low income surface owners began coming to him and he found out there was no law at all at the time giving surface owners any rights.  

He became a founder of the Oil and Gas Reform Coalition which was able to get a bill through the West Virginia Legislature giving 15 days notice of drilling permits to surface owners, plus the Oil and Gas Production Damage Compensation Act passed in 1983.  He negotiated the rule requiring the testing of water wells within 1000 feet of new oil and gas wells when the Groundwater Protection Act passed.   

Since then he has authored a book on surface owner rights.  He has a few available on-hand, or you can order or download the book on line at

Most recently he is a founder of the West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization ( which introduced legislation increasing surface owner’s rights during the most recent legislative session.  Dave can tell you what rights surface owners have, and do not have.


  • Appearances in 15 cases in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

  • Consumer Fellow, American Bar Association, UCC Committee, Business Law Section, 1997 to 2007.

  • Official representative for consumers on the Drafting Committee of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws to revise Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code (security interests and repossession law), (Partial funding through Consumers Union, publisher of Consumers Reports), 1994 to1999.

  • Chair, Administrative Law Committee, West Virginia State Bar, 1997 to 1999.

  • Member, West Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Advisory Board, appointed by Governor, 1997 to 2010.

  • Board member representing national consumer organizations (National Consumer Law Center, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America) and computer professionals on AFFECT coalition which is opposing adoption of Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act in all 50 states.

  • Policy advocate to West Virginia’s legislature and administrative agencies, and to West Virginia Congressional Delegation, 1983 to present.

  • Training Coordinator for the four W.Va. poverty law programs: 1980-1982.

  • Regional Training Advisory Committee for poverty law programs. Member: 1979 - 1982; Chair: 1981-1982.



George Washington University in Washington D.C., 1975

West Virginia Wesleyan College, 1972