AUSTIN BRISTER is a Partner with McGinnis Lochridge in Houston. He represents oil and gas operators, nonoperators, and mineral owners in oil and gas disputes. Austin has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in federal and state courtrooms across Texas, including courts in South Texas, West Texas, East Texas, and Central Texas. Austin seeks out creative and practical business solutions before resorting to litigation. But, when necessary, Austin works hard to implement aggressive strategies in the courthouse. Austin has successfully handled disputes concerning mineral and leasehold title, adverse possession, surface trespass and damages, royalty calculation and payment issues, issues arising out of purchase and sale transactions, operator/nonoperator disputes, breach of joint operating agreement, lease termination/saving disputes, and retained acreage disputes. Austin has taken and defended depositions of witnesses ranging from expert witnesses, chief operating officers, lawyers, engineers, drilling rig operators, and equipment operators. Austin is an active member of the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law, where he currently serves as a Trustee-At Large, Co-Chair of the Oil and Gas and Landman's sections for the Annual Institute, and on the Foundation's Programs Committee. Austin is also on the Advisory Board for the Institute for Energy Law. Austin frequently publishes articles and gives presentations on upstream oil and gas law. In recent years, he has published several articles within the Texas State Bar OGERL Section Report, authored multiple articles and gave presentations for Annual Institutes and other programs for the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law, authored and presented a paper for the Louisiana Mineral Law Institute, co-authored papers for the Institute for Energy Law, and published articles within AAPL’s Landman Magazine.
NICK GOODLING is Real Estate Senior Counsel with Clearway Energy Group in Houston, Texas. He provides leadership and real estate legal support for utility-scale renewable energy projects at all phases of the development life cycle through construction and operation of the project. Nick manages teams of attorneys and real estate professionals that handle real estate legal support, title review, and curative processes for all wind and solar power generation and energy storage projects developed by the company.
JENNIFER N. HORCHEM is Of Counsel with Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP in Denver, Colorado. Her practice focuses on public lands, federal oil and gas leasing, energy, oil and gas acquisition and divestiture. She brings to Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP unique competencies acquired during her seven years as Associate General Counsel and Vice President – Land Administration for an independent exploration and production company. There, she was involved with both the royalty (Office of Natural Resources Revenue) and operations (Bureau of Land Management) side of public lands. Her work involved state and federal royalty and tax audits, application of the marketable condition rule to federal and Indian oil and gas leases, and dual accounting and major portion for Indian oil and gas leases. She was also involved with communitization agreements and other public lands matters. In her energy practice, she collaborated with outside counsel, landmen, and brokers during acquisitions and sales; conducted due diligence; and drafted lease-related documents, exploration and development agreements, and purchase and sale agreements, as well as reviewed title opinions. Her litigation responsibilities involved title and royalty payment issues, as well as the drafting and negotiating of settlement agreements. Prior to her in-house position, Ms. Horchem was an associate at two Kansas law firms. Her work encompassed oil and gas, real estate, probate, and administrative law including representation of an electric cooperative before the Kansas Corporation Commission (after having previously clerked for the Advisory Counsel’s Office of the Kansas Corporation Commission).
JUDITH M. MATLOCK is Senior of Counsel with Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP in Denver, Colorado. She has been in private practice since 1982. Ms. Matlock represents a diverse range of clients in the oil and gas and public utility industries. Her practice includes representing clients in connection with regulation, contracting, and litigation, as well as with royalties and taxes on production. She is involved in all aspects of the gathering, transportation, processing, fractionation, and marketing of natural gas, liquids, and crude oil, including advising clients on the federal and state jurisdictional status of transportation facilities. Her practice also encompasses representing producers in connection with the calculation, payment, and reporting of royalties and production taxes. She assists clients with ONRR data mining requests, the ONRR marketable condition rule and associated unbundling requirements, and state, federal, and Indian royalty and tax audits and appeals. Additionally, she represents producers in connection with private royalty litigation including class action lawsuits. She conducts in-house royalty payment and reporting training seminars and assists companies with internal royalty payment and reporting compliance self-audits. She has over 25 years of experience in public utilities matters, including acquisitions of public utilities, electric resource planning, gas transportation, CPCN proceedings, Colorado’s Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, franchise and street lighting agreement negotiations, and other matters. She is a frequent lecturer and writer on federal royalties and numerous other energy-related topics. Ms. Matlock is an active participant in The Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law (FNREL). She has served on the Executive Committee, as a trustee, and as a co-chair of the Special Institutes Committee. She has also been the program chair for several FNREL special institutes, short courses, and for the 2010 Annual Institute. In 2020, Ms. Matlock was named an honorary trustee the FNREL, which is a lifetime appointment, and the highest honor bestowed by the Foundation.
STEPHANIE REGENOLD is a Partner in the Portland office of Perkins Coie . She counsels clients on development of major infrastructure projects, including natural resource and renewable projects, highway and public and private transportation projects, and commercial development. Stephanie advises on both public and private land development and multiple-use projects, from initiation through completion, including projects within the oil and gas, mining, timber, and renewable wind, solar, and hydro industries. Stephanie advises clients on mining claim issues, such as extralateral rights, and royalty and lease disputes, in Montana, Idaho, Alaska, and other western states. She performs due diligence and title reviews of large land acreages for natural resource and energy project development, acquisitions, divestitures, and financings, including title review of city tracts in the Bakken Shale Play in Montana and North Dakota. In addition to title review, her practice includes negotiations and litigation relating to permitting, title, payment of royalties and lease disputes, and further extends to forest products matters, including timber export and land disputes. Stephanie has served as lead counsel for major project acquisitions and divestitures and for public agencies and private-sector clients under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including Federal Highway Administration NEPA assignments, and related issues such as compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Federal Land Policy & Management Act (FLPMA), National Forest Management Act (NFMA), and Clean Air Act (CAA). Her experience includes permitting and regulatory compliance, negotiating land acquisitions, surface and subsurface leases, and right-of-way agreements, land use and real estate matters, which includes solving complex title-related matters and disputes, and administrative proceedings and environmental litigation at both the state and federal level.
NIKI ROBERTS is Counsel in the Houston office of Hogan Lovells. She guides companies through energy transactions with a particular focus on upstream and midstream transactions. She handles commercial agreements and has experience with acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, private equity investments and strategic transactions for public and private companies in the energy industry. Niki represents U.S. and international project developers, sponsors and other investors in energy infrastructure and markets, including private equity funds, independent power and gas producers and multinational companies. Niki advises clients on a variety of legal matters, including agreements related to purchases and sales; joint exploration and development, including joint operations and lease acquisitions; development of renewable and fossil-fired power generation and energy storage facilities; development, financing, acquisition, disposition and restructuring of energy and infrastructure projects; and gathering, transportation, processing, production handling, production sharing, and similar midstream and downstream agreements. Before joining Hogan Lovells, Niki worked in upstream oil and gas with experience in onshore, offshore, and land administration.
Program Chair and Committee
JARED A. HEMBREE is a partner in the Roswell, New Mexico office of Hinkle Shanor LLP and is an adjunct professor at Washington & Lee University School of Law, where he teaches Oil and Gas Law. His primary practice is in oil and gas law, including title examination, transactions, and litigation. Mr. Hembree is a Trustee of the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law and is on the faculty for the Foundation’s Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Short Course. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico and has served in various capacities for the American Association of Professional Landmen and the New Mexico Landmen’s Association. He is admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, and the New Mexico Supreme Court. Mr. Hembree received a J.D. from Washington & Lee University School of Law in 2005. While at Washington & Lee, Mr. Hembree served as an Editor for the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy’s 2005 Symposium Edition and as Chairman of the Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series. He graduated with Honors receiving a B.A. in History with a Minor in Museum Studies from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana in 2000. Mr. Hembree sits on the boards of directors for a number of civic organizations, including the Eastern New Mexico State Fair.
MICHELLE AURZADA is an attorney for CoBank, based in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Michelle began her career in energy in Texas, and has experience in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, Utah, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Michelle graduated from Texas Wesleyan Law School (Texas A&M Law School), having earned her B.A. in Secondary Education at the University of Wyoming. Michelle attended the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy, and served as a Peace Officer for the City of Casper, Wyoming. After relocating to Texas she taught at Carrollton-Farmer’s Branch ISD. Michelle continues to mentor students and participates in the Texas Care Award which requires more than 50 hours of volunteer legal work annually. She also serves as a board member for the Kempe Foundation and the American Association of Professional Landmen. Michelle also serves as Trustee for The Foundation of Natural Resources and Energy Law.
BRITTANY BLAKEY is an Associate with Gray Reed in Dallas. She joined Gray Reed’s Energy Transactions practice group after participating in the firm’s 2018 and 2019 summer associate program. She graduated with a B.B.A from Texas Tech University in Energy Commerce and with a dual J.D. / M.B.A. from Baylor Law School and Baylor Hankamer School of Business. Brittany gained additional experience while working as a legal intern in the Office of Commissioner Ryan Sitton at the Texas Railroad Commission. She was also an in -house minerals intern at Dorchester Minerals, L.P. and a field intern at Marathon Oil Corporation. While attending Baylor Law School, Brittany was the Managing Executive Editor of the Baylor Law Review, was on the Dean’s List in 2017 and 2018, received the Locke Lord, LLP Writing excellence Award and was selected for the Order of Barristers.
DANIEL C. COOPER is an Associate with Husch Blackwell LLP in Austin. After nearly a decade working with oil- and gas-focused energy companies, Danny has extensive experience preparing Drilling and Division Order Title Opinions. He also serves as a resource on matters in connection with renewable forms of energy, as well as on a variety of issues affecting surface, mineral and leasehold estates, including: Deeds, contracts and leases, Assignments and mortgages, Joint venture agreements, Purchase and sale agreements, and Joint operating agreements. Clients appreciate Danny’s background working in-house with an Oklahoma energy corporation. He gained broad knowledge about the property issues that affect the industry, performing hundreds of title reviews and collaborating directly with landmen on leasing issues. This immersion in the particulars of real estate law within the energy sector developed Danny’s talent for spotting the myriad legal problems that can appear in title review.
BRUCE “Bo” MAHR is an Associate with Husch Blackwell LLP in Kansas City. From green fields to zoning ordinances to title curatives, Bo's renewables practice grew out of his history working around the energy sector. He spent time at both wind and solar companies and state and federal agencies, thus offering a breadth of knowledge advising energy clients front start to finish. This enables him to provide an array of real estate and development services on projects ranging from distributed generation to green hydrogen to floating solar. Bo thrives on dissecting and resolving the complex issues that come with the dramatic growth in the industry. For Bo, counseling on renewable energy development is both a well-honed skill set and a passion. He works with clients to efficiently and effectively complete projects, and foster much needed sustainability and economic growth.
WADE C. MANN is a Partner in Crowley Fleck’s Bismarck office. He is part of the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources group and focuses his practice primarily on energy and natural resources related litigation and regulatory work. He represents clients before the North Dakota Industrial Commission and North Dakota Public Service Commission as well as in state and federal courts. Wade is back with the firm after recently completing a gubernatorial appointment as the Director of the North Dakota Office of Administrative Hearings where he served as an administrative law judge in addition to heading the agency.
MILAM RANDOLPH PHARO recently retired from his Of Counsel position as a member of the Natural Resources Department of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP and has over 38 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, with an emphasis in the Rocky Mountain Region as well as Texas, Louisiana, and the Mid-Continent. The first two years of Mr. Pharo's practice were in insurance defense litigation. After moving to Colorado in 1979, his practice became focused on oil and gas matters. His past experience includes extensive title examination in various states and the representation of clients in many facets of the upstream E&P business including operating matters, exploration and development agreements, lending matters, and the purchase and sale of producing and non-producing properties. Mr. Pharo left private practice at the end of 1995 and spent the next 15 years with St. Mary Land & Exploration Company, now SM Energy Company, serving as its Vice President – Land, Vice President – Land and Legal, and Senior Vice President and General Counsel. During this 15 year period, the company grew from a market capitalization of approximately $120 million to $3.7 billion. After his retirement, he joined Magellan Petroleum Corporation as its Vice President – General Counsel and Secretary. After his retirement from this position, he became a member of the company’s Board of Directors serving until December 2014. Since becoming an oil and gas attorney, Mr. Pharo has been actively involved with the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF). He served as President during the organization year of July 2014 to July 2015. He has also served as the organization’s vice president and its board of directors until July 2017. He has served as the Colorado reporter for its Mineral Law Newsletter, as a member of the program committee for various Special Institutes, as the Annual Institute program chair for both the landman and oil and gas sections, as a trustee, and as a member of its board of directors. He has presented papers at several RMMLF Annual Institutes and Special Institutes on various topics including land resurveys, transaction due diligence, drafting of purchase and sale agreements, unitization matters, joint operating agreements, and the effects of unrecorded industry agreements. Mr. Pharo has spoken to the Colorado Bar Association and the Denver Bar Association on natural resource matters. He has also spoken at the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) National Conference, the National Association of Lease and Title Analysts, the Denver Association of Division Order Analysts, and the Denver Association of Petroleum Landmen (DAPL), as well as other industry associations. He has written articles for the DAPL's newsletter and the AAPL magazine, Landman. He has served as President of the Denver Association of Oil and Gas Title Lawyers. In 1999, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law recognized Mr. Pharo as its Distinguished Natural Resources Practitioner in Residence. He has continued to teach classes at this law school and Washburn University School of Law primarily in oil and gas contract negotiations.
MICHELLE L. PHILLIPS is the Director of Land at Callon Petroleum in Houston, TX. She also served as a faculty member teaching Oil and Gas Law as well as Energy and Mining Law at the University of North Dakota School of Law. She has extensive experience in basins across the United States including Permian, Eagle Ford, Bakken, and Rockies, and Mid-Continent basins. Michelle completed her undergraduate degree in business from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She completed both her Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma. After completing her graduate programs, Michelle started her career at Shell working the Rockies, Northern Louisiana, and Mid-Continent Assets. She then transitioned to Hess in 2011 and worked the Bakken for ten years. During that time Michelle served land roles for both commercial, surface, and mineral work in roles that included Surface Land Manager and Land Negotiations Manager. Michelle joined AAPL as soon as she started her land career in 2007 and sat for the CPL in 2012. During that time she has been a member of HAPL, WHAPL, and LAND. Michelle is currently the Second Vice-President. In addition to the AAPL certifications, Michelle is a member of the state bars for Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Montana. Michelle lives in Houston with her daughter, Ella. Outside of her career, Michelle is very active in her community – serving as Cookie Manager for Ella’s Girl Scout Troop; Board Member for the Trinity Health Foundation in Minot, ND; Alumni Admissions Volunteer for Georgetown University. She is an active member of Cornerstone United Methodist Church and enjoys baking, knitting, reading, and hiking. Michelle and Ella are on a joint mission to visit and earn Junior Ranger badges from all 423 locations in the National Parks System.
JOSEPH A. SCHREMMER is the Judge Leon Karelitz Oil & Gas Law Professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he teaches courses across the fields of oil and gas, property, business, and commercial law. He writes primarily about oil, gas, and mineral law and property rights in the subsurface of land. Schremmer’s articles have appeared in the Washington Law Review, the University of Colorado Law Review (forthcoming), the Utah Law Review, the University of Kansas Law Review, and the Journal of Legal Education (forthcoming), among others. Schremmer joined the law faculty in 2019 following six years in private practice with small firms. Among many other areas of civil practice, Schremmer maintained a comprehensive oil and gas practice, representing numerous producers and royalty owners in litigation and transactional matters. He also served as general counsel for a privately held oil and gas exploration, production, and service company. He is a past president of the Oil, Gas, and Minerals Section of the Kansas Bar Association and has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers. Before becoming a lawyer, Schremmer worked in a variety of jobs in the oil and gas industry in Kansas, where he was born and raised.
PAUL G. YALE is a Partner with Gray Reed in Houston, Texas. He is Board Certified in Oil, Gas & Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has decades of experience in both the domestic and international oil and gas industry, including 27 years working in various capacities with ExxonMobil Corporation and its predecessors. Before retiring from ExxonMobil in 2007, Paul served as Manager of Land for the company’s U.S. Production Organization responsible for overseeing all land activities in the U.S. lower 48. Upon retiring from ExxonMobil, Paul immediately re-entered private law practice focusing exclusively on oil and gas title, transactional and dispute resolution matters. He is a licensed attorney in eight states and has worked in virtually every major U.S. oil and gas basin, both onshore and offshore. During the course of Paul’s career he has negotiated and documented countless numbers of upstream oil and gas transactions, including purchase and sale agreements, oil and gas leases, joint operating agreements, exploration agreements, unit agreements, gas sales contracts, master services agreements, drilling contracts, and many more. He regularly prepares oil and gas drilling, division order and acquisition title opinions in Texas, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and in other states in which he is licensed. A certified arbitrator and mediator, Paul is experienced in guiding parties to amicable dispute resolutions in cases involving upstream oil and gas contracts and complex title issues. He is frequently called on to provide expert witness testimony in litigation involving many types of complex oil and gas issues. Paul is a regular author and speaker on a variety of oil and gas legal topics including title opinions, operating agreements, and hydraulic fracturing. He is a co-author and editor of LexisNexis’s Hydraulic Fracturing Law and Practice (2017 and 2019 editions).