Brian Benestad

Brian P. Benestad
Of Counsel

Brian P. Benestad serves as Of Counsel at Burns White, with a diverse practice in civil litigation and transactional matters involving energy law, labor and employment cases, complex commercial litigation, and the defense of governmental entities in discrimination, general liability and workers’ compensation claims.

Mr. Benestad is experienced in all facets of insurance defense, including coverage disputes, negligence, premises liability, complex accident fatalities, bad faith/unfair trade practices and employment law impacting a wide range of clients including trucking companies, governmental entities and insurers. He also advises clients on the optimal insurance policies and coverage available and best employment practices.  Mr. Benestad further has extensive experience representing insurers in Pennsylvania and West Virginia in cases involving claims of breach of contract, common law and statutory bad faith, and violations of Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, and West Virginia’s Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Additionally, Mr. Benestad holds the position of Vice President and General Counsel at ECM Energy Services, Inc.  ECM fulfills the U.S. onshore drilling-related needs of oil and gas companies by providing dependable trucking and logistics services.  Before joining ECM and Burns White, Mr. Benestad practiced commercial litigation at the Pittsburgh office of a national law firm with over 600 attorneys.

Aside from private practice, Mr. Benestad also served in the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 2008 to 2013 as a prosecutor and defense counsel.  He further deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in 2010-2011 as the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCC-I) Legal Liaison Officer and Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) Legal Advisor.  While downrange, Mr. Benestad facilitated collaboration among CTS Legal/Targeting Directorates and CCC-I Judges improving target development and warranting.  He further advised the CTS Intelligence Directorate on legal issues concerning interrogation techniques improving exploitation and leading to actionable intelligence and increased follow-on targets.  Moreover, Mr. Benestad tried over 40 courts-martial and administrative discharge proceedings in the Air Force as the first chair trial and defense counsel.

As a resident of Wexford, Pennsylvania, Mr. Benestad enjoys golfing, skiing, running marathons, and other outdoor activities.  He remains heavily involved with the Pittsburgh Marathon and the Steel City Road Runners Club and served as the U.S. Elite Women’s Olympic Trials Qualifying Time 2:43 Group Pacer at the 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon.  He has completed nine consecutive Boston Marathons with the goal of twenty-five straight.

Areas of Law

  • Energy
  • Oil and Gas
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Labor and Employment
  • Workers’ Compensation


  • Duquesne University School of Law (J.D., 2008)
  • Boston College (B.A., 2005)

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Pennsylvania
  • Massachusetts
  • West Virginia
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia
  • S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals
  • S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces


  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Allegheny County Bar Association

Major Awards and Decorations

  • Selected by his peers for the 2016-2017 West Virginia Super Lawyers® “Rising Stars” lists
  • Joint Service Commendation Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal
  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
  • Air Force Meritorious Unit Award
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Iraq Campaign Medal (1 device)
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Air Force Overseas Ribbon Short
  • Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border
  • Air Force Training Ribbon