Energy & Natural Resources - Louisiana
THE FIRM This oil and gas powerhouse is universally considered one of the best energy firms in Louisiana. From bases in New Orleans, Lafayette and Baton Rouge, its lawyers provide a full energy service and are much noted for their wealth of transactional and litigation expertise. They are adept at dealing with every type of dispute, including contentious matters between operators and nonoperators, legacy suits and litigation with the state pertaining to severance taxes.
Sources say: "They try to put the right attorney with the right talents to the task and then they go from there. They have a lot of experience and do a great job."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Bob Duplantis is regarded as one of the top attorneys in the energy field and is particularly recognized for his unitization work, regularly representing clients before the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and the Louisiana Office of Mineral Resources. He is much noted for his wide industry experience, having previously worked as an engineer in oil exploration and production, and as in-house counsel for an oil company. "He brings a good background-oriented skill set and is very bright and insightful in his approach," notes one commentator.
Peck Hayne is equally well respected for his litigation and transactional abilities. Sources praise his personable style and say he is "studied in his responses and very analytical."
Scott O'Connor has a fine reputation among fellow oil and gas attorneys, and is particularly known for his commercial litigation practice, which has included defending oil and gas companies in statewide and nationwide class actions. Sources reserve particular praise for his practical approach to matters and his ability to zero in on the main issues.
THE FIRM This highly respected oil and gas firm has handled some of the most significant and high-profile matters in the sector over the past year for a client list that includes a number of international oil companies. Interviewees praise the firm's capacity in all areas of oil and gas legal work, including onshore and offshore matters, transactional work, litigation and regulatory representation. A number of the firm's lawyers are regarded as experts in their fields, with well-attested links to government and industry figures.
Sources say: "It has a great deal of expertise in offshore matters and is one of the preeminent firms in that area."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jonathan Hunter is lauded by peers and industry sources for his expertise across litigation, transactions and regulatory matters. He is particularly noted for his strengths in upstream oil and gas issues, and is also recommended for his federal practice, having won a number of significant cases against the government on behalf of his clients. "He is really smart as hell – he is very creative, writes well and presents well in front of judges. A top-shelf guy, he'd be on my list for a high-dollar case," asserts one enthusiastic source.
The highly regarded Richard Revels is considered a statewide leader in the unitization and conservation space, and is noted for his innovative approach to matters in this area. He regularly handles cases before the Commissioner of Conservation and the State Mineral Board, and is also sought to deliver title opinions on behalf of clients.
The "superb" Lawrence Simon is a well-regarded oil and gas litigator based in Lafayette. He has litigated in state and federal courts throughout Louisiana, and has much experience acting for clients before the Department of Conservation. Sources say: "He has a way of synthesizing what can be highly technical information so that it is understandable, and he has a manner which is very effective both in deposition and in presentation of cases."
Rising star James Lapeze "is a younger lawyer who in due course will be right up there with his partners," asserts one impressed commentator. An oil and gas litigator, Lapeze focuses primarily on representing oil companies in issues stemming from upstream oil and gas production.
THE FIRM This firm represents oil companies in litigation and transactional matters on a statewide basis from offices in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. It represents clients in a range of litigation, from blowouts and damage claims to legacy suits and trespass claims. The group is also well versed in matters concerning oil and gas leases, the negotiation of production payment purchase agreements, and the negotiation of master service agreements.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Kenneth Klemm is a well-regarded oil and gas litigator with a varied practice in the field. His clients include oil and gas production entities, oil field cleanup companies and insurance organizations. Sources say: "He's got good skills and is personable and easy to work with."
THE FIRM This oil and gas practice operates out of Shreveport, in the heart of the Haynesville Shale. Its lawyers handle energy cases related to lignite mining and upstream and midstream oil and gas production, for clients including independent and publicly traded oil and gas companies. The team handles the full range of transactional and litigation matters, from acquisitions of mineral producing land and production companies to legacy suits, class action defense and appeals to the Louisiana Office of Conservation.
Sources say: "They are very responsive, they are knowledgeable about our company, and they are willing to put in whatever it takes in terms of time and effort to get the job done."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Joseph Shea's varied practice includes a significant proportion of oil and gas litigation and transactional work. His work in the sector has included defending clients in legacy cases, lease termination suits, title disputes, and mineral rights and mineral contract litigation. "He is very thorough and does a very good job of presenting our positions," said one satisfied client.
David Taggart has a broad litigation practice spanning oil and gas work and utility regulatory matters, particularly in the midstream oil and gas sector. He has been heavily involved in litigation surrounding pipeline and gas gathering construction, legacy suits and regulatory issues. Sources say: "He is a very intelligent guy and able to connect with the decision-makers and present our case in a common-sense manner."
THE FIRM This New Orleans firm represents producers and landowners in a broad range of litigation and transactional matters. It regularly handles oil and gas contract disputes, land and title opinions, and the representation of buyers and sellers of mineral producing properties. Its experienced attorneys are also routinely sought to act on behalf of clients in royalty and lease termination disputes.
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Effective oil and gas litigator" Taylor Darden is of counsel at the firm, and is well versed in operational disputes, expropriation, royalty collection and mineral leasing.
Hampton Carver is a well-respected energy and mineral law attorney, with much of his practice focused on offshore matters. He is particularly noted for his work in disputes related to outer continental shelf leases and regulations. "He is a fine, fine lawyer," remarks one impressed source.
THE FIRM This firm's oil and gas practice has become increasingly prominent over the past few years, and interviewees agree that the effort the firm has made to build its practice in the area has been successful. The full-service energy practice covers not only upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas work, but also mining, power generation and utility regulatory matters. The firm's attorneys handle a wide array of work, including transactional matters, litigation, regulatory compliance and enforcement action representation.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The highly respected Edward Bergin is recognized by sources for his utility regulation expertise. He regularly represents clients including water and electric companies, industrial clients and telecom organizations before the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC).
Carl Rosenblum is singled out by peers for his involvement in a number of recent high-profile oil and gas cases. His practice involves representing clients in disputes which have included oil and gas leases, drilling contracts, exploration agreements and contentious royalty matters. Sources say: "He is a smart, aggressive litigator who produces good results."
David Hunter is a noted energy attorney based in New Orleans. He concentrates on transactional matters such as the acquisition and disposal of mineral-bearing real estate and associated infrastructure, and the purchase and sale of mineral leases. He is also routinely called upon to advise on the import and export of LNG.
THE FIRM This firm owes its reputation in the energy sector to its state-leading utilities regulation practice. The team regularly represents a diverse client base drawn from telecom, electricity generation and heavy industry sectors, among others, in regulatory proceedings before the LPSC.
Sources say: "They represent their clients excellently."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "formidable" Katherine King is recommended by peers for her work representing clients before the LPSC, and is particularly noted for representing the end users of electricity suppliers. Sources say: "She is the total package – effective lawyering and very hard-working as well."
Randy Young has a fine reputation for acting on behalf of telecom companies and large electricity users, among other clients, before the LPSC and the FERC.
THE FIRM This firm is acknowledged in the market for its utilities regulation practice, which operates from Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The firm's lawyers regularly represent Cleco Power before the LPSC and the FERC in issues such as wholesale electric power transactions, acquisition of natural resources and ratemaking.
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Shirley focuses on representing clients from a range of utilities, including electricity, water and telecom, before the LPSC. Recent matters include representing CenterPoint Energy before the Commission in a number of actions relating to fuel audits and ratemaking. Sources say: "He is a very effective lawyer before the commission and has good relationships with the commissioners."
Utilities and energy practice chair Alan Wolf is the firm's lead partner in its relationship with the Wind Capital Group, and also led in the Cleco Power matters. "He is an excellent lawyer: he is levelheaded, very good on his feet and very effective in negotiations," notes one impressed commentator.
THE FIRM This group is noted by sources for the quality of its utility regulation practice and maintains a fine track record acting on behalf of clients including industrial energy consumers, gas entities and pipeline companies in regulatory matters before the LPSC. Additionally, the firm has been engaged as special counsel to the commission in selected ratemaking cases.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Fontham and Paul Zimmering are both highly recommended for their utilities regulation expertise. Sources describe Fontham as "a very able litigator, and very well versed in the technicalities of the federal law issues," while commentators single out Zimmering as being "absolutely five-star! He is a great lawyer and a great person to work with."
The "very well-respected" Dana Shelton is similarly well regarded in the market for her utilities regulation practice and, like Fontham and Zimmering, has much experience acting for the LPSC in matters before the FERC.
Sole practitioner Kyle Marionneaux regularly represents clients before the LPSC, including electricity generating entities, gas utilities and motor carrier companies. Sources say: "He has a more casual approach with the commissioners in his argument – it is more of a conversational approach, which works well with the Commission."
Long Law Firm LLP's David Guerry is particularly recognized for his work representing electric and telecom utility clients before the LPSC. Sources say: "He has very good relationships with the commissioners and is very good in negotiations and bringing parties together in settlement."
The "exceptional" Randall Songy of Onebane Law Firm is based in Lafayette and is noted for his wealth of experience in the oil and gas arena. Commentators particularly admire his knowledge of unitization and conservation work.
"True oil and gas litigator" Patrick Ottinger of Ottinger Hebert is a much-respected energy lawyer and operates out of Lafayette.
Gerald Slattery is a member of well-respected New Orleans boutique Slattery Marino & Roberts and focuses on oil and gas litigation. His practice includes cases related to drilling contracts, legacy suits, lease disputes, trespass matters and well blowouts. "He is extremely knowledgeable in oil and gas litigation. He is a superbright guy and very thorough and diligent," reports one source.
Robert Gilliam of Wilkinson, Carmody & Gilliam is a noted litigator with an established utility regulation practice, and "has an amazing relationship with the commissioners at the Public Service Commission," note sources.