Areas of Practice
We are often asked what kinds of law we practice. As a small boutique firm, the answer typically is we are market driven.
Here is a list of areas we handle:
- Personal Injury
- Oil & Gas
- Business & Contract Matters
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Employment Questions
- HOA Matters
- Land / Property Matters
- Road Issues
- Simple Wills
- Wrongful Death
Typically our oil and gas work is on behalf of royalty owners, mineral owners and overriding royalty owners. Our clients reside all over the United States and some internationally. For most people, oil and gas is akin to trying to speak Greek. Because speaking Greek is unlikely for most of us, our oil and gas work will often start with an education on and about oil and gas issues and terminology as it relates to the client's situation. We loosely call this educational component Oil & Gas 101 and can be important not only for the current issue, but also for the long term monitoring of your oil and gas interests. The topics can be very broad ranging.
Below are just a few examples of topics often discussed in Oil & Gas 101:
- Basics - How oil and gas works
- Bonus Amounts
- Continuous Drilling
- Deduction Issues (gathering, transportation, processing, treating, compression, dehydration, etc.)
- Delay Rentals
- Drilling, Completing, Fracking, Operating, Producing
- Forced Pooling
- Gas Flaring
- Habendum Clauses
- Pooling and Spacing
- Primary Term
- Pugh Clauses
- Royalty Clauses
- Royalty Rates
- Secondary Term
- Shut-In Royalties
- Surface Use Issues
- Units and Participating Areas
- Valuation and Marketing
Much of the guidance and education is from the point of view of someone who has seen what happens in the real world of oil and gas operations and production and not from the hypothetical or viewpoint of a transactional only attorney.
In addition to the Oil & Gas 101 educational component, we also assist with the drafting and negotiating of oil and gas leases, surface use agreements, option agreements, purchase and sales agreements, etc. This can further include those situations where clients want to buy or sell mineral interests. At times, we help introduce willing buyers to willing sellers of mineral interests. Some of these matters can also cause the need for relatively detailed probates for mineral interests that were long ignored and may still be held in the name of a deceased relative according to the records at the County Clerk and Recorder's office.
At times, we pursue oil and gas matters through litigation often concerning the nonpayment, underpayment or late payment of royalties. Often the issue concerns the type or amount of deductions taken from an oil and gas royalty payment by and oil and gas operator. These deductions can be fees for gathering, transportation, compression, dehydration, processing, treating, marketing, unused reservation capacity, etc. Litigation can also arise when oil and gas producers fail to properly report the royalties paid. Many, but not all, of these lawsuits have been pursued on a class action basis. See our class action results here. As a typical rule, we try to limit representation to royalty owners and not large operators or working interest owners. This is so we do not inadvertently create conflicts of interest. Exceptions do exist from time to time whereby smaller or independent operators or working interest owners may seek our assistance. Our clients can range from the small (a few acres) to an owner with tens of thousands of acres.
We are not limited, however, to only oil and gas matters.
We also give guidance on various types of contract matters (advising, drafting, negotiating, litigating). For more than a decade, we have been involved in a complex coal transaction seeking to exchange privately owned coal with coal owned by the federal government under a 1970s era environmental statute. That has caused us to work on coal leases, coal purchase and sale agreements, option agreements and many other complex documents related to that matter. We also review and pursue serious injury and wrongful death matters. We can and have reviewed, drafted and assisted with probates, employment questions, business matters, land matters, HOA matters, road matters, simple Wills as well as various other matters.
There are things we do not do, however. In those instances, we do one of two things. Either we bring in another attorney to handle that specialized area as part of our "team" approach. Or, we simply let you know from the beginning that your matter is an area of practice that is outside of our comfort level. In this situation, we can sometimes give you guidance, direction and possibly referrals to attorneys better equipped for your particular situation and issue.
If you are unsure, contact us. We will listen and then quickly give you an answer as to whether this is something we should or should not explore further.
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