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United States > Industry focus > Energy litigation: oil and gas > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Energy litigation: oil and gas
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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ExcellentBaker Botts L.L.P.shines in business acumen, industry knowledge, appropriateness of advice and response times’ and regularly acts for a broad range of clients such as Shell Oil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Repsol and the Carlyle Group. The team, led by Bill Kroger, is highly experienced in handling disputes involving all aspects of the exploration, production, distribution, and marketing of energy products, as well as the engineering, procurement and construction of energy projects. Recent mandates include representing Cobalt International Energy in an arbitration against Angolan state-owned oil company Sonangol arising from a sale and purchase agreement relating to two off-shore blocks and defending Atmos Energy in a Texas Supreme Court trial brought by the Town of Dish regarding alleged nuisance and trespass resulting from operations of the defendants’ compressor facilities; Evan Young and Jonathan Rubenstein led the latter case. Travis Salesblends a great demeanor and personality with practical and insightful legal skills’. David Super joined Bracewell LLP.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

With a focus on contentious work, Beck Redden represents a stellar client roster, including ExxonMobil, Statoil and Valero, before all levels of state and federal courts. In a standout matter, the team successfully represented Enterprise Products Partners in a Texas appeals court proceeding reversing a 2014 trial court’s landmark jury verdict of $535m regarding a purported partnership between the client and Enterprise Products Partners; key advisors were the thoroughly recommended David Beck, David Gunn, Russell Post, Jeff Golub and Michael Richardson. Matthew Whitley is acting on behalf of SandBox Logistics as claimant in a lawsuit based on the alleged breach of a non-disclosure agreement and a settlement agreement against Arrows Up as well as representing it in a patent infringement lawsuit against PropX regarding its logistical process and related equipment for storing and transporting sand for use on hydraulic fracturing sites.

Litigation powerhouse Gibbs & Bruns LLP has significant experience in representing energy clients, such as Occidental Petroleum, ExxonMobile, Kinder Morgan and Chevron, in contentious matters, both on the plaintiff and defendant side. Recent mandates saw the team filing a petition and request for injunctive relief on behalf of Sanchez Oil & Gas against three former employees and their new employer Terra Energy Partners related to the alleged misappropriation of trade secrets; the case is continuing along to trial after the denial of a mandamus petition was filed by the defendant. The representation of Enterprise in an engineering/construction lawsuit against Amec Foster Wheeler concerning delays and cost overruns at the construction of a petrochemical refinery was another highlight. In other work, the group successfully defended Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company against a damages claim brought by Plains Gas Solutions connected to the alleged breach of a gas processing contract. Robin Gibbs and Brian Ross are recommended. Robert Madden retired.

King & Spalding LLP provides ‘excellent client service’ and has ‘a strong team of lawyers and depth of expertise’. The team regularly handles general commercial disputes in the oil and gas sector, toxic torts as well as personal injury and property damage matters and is also highly experienced in royalty cases. Recently, the eminent Robert Meadows and Charles Correll reached a settlement on behalf of ConocoPhillips in three-state royalty class action, while other highlights included representing Chevron in multiple lawsuits resulting from a fire at its Richmond Refinery, defending ATP Oil & Gas against shareholder claims related to ATP’s bankruptcy in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and acting on behalf of Halliburton in a trade secret case brought by SandBox Enterprises. Adam Gray, Jorge Mattamouros and Andrew Stakelum have been elevated to the partnership. Tim Engel is described as ‘very detail-oriented, reliable’ and ‘meticulous in his case preparation’.

Praised for its ‘wide-array of experience on energy litigation matters’ and its ‘willingness to jump quickly on questions’, Bracewell LLP advises clients across the oil and gas spectrum, including exploration and production companies, suppliers, pipeline and gathering companies as well as investors. Bradley Benoit is defending HPS Investment Partners and Kingfisher Midstream against claims of tortious inference, civil conspiracy and unjust enrichment brought by Mustang Gas Products, while Sean Gorman is representing Manti Equity Partners in an arbitration related to reserved interest payment obligations. The department is led by Stephen Crain; other names to note are Andrew Zeve, who is ‘one of the smartest and most practical litigators’, and Christopher Dodson who ‘has a wide array of experience’. David Super arrived from Baker Botts L.L.P..

An ‘outstanding level of service’ and ‘good value for money’ are characteristics of Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s oil and gas litigation practice. Under the leadership of the renowned William Wood, the team covers upstream, midstream, downstream and oilfield services disputes for clients such as Chevron, BP America and ExxonMobile. Combining its litigation and regulatory strengths, the group is assisting Energy Transfer Partners with contentious matters as well as federal, state and tribal permitting proceedings regarding the planned construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline; Denver-based Bob Comer is the key advisor. In other work, Stephen Dillard is representing Cabot Oil & Gas in a dispute regarding the alleged groundwater contamination from oil and gas drilling in northeastern Pennsylvania. Daniel McClure is noted for ‘his experience and success in defending class action royalty lawsuits’. Jeremy Mercer and Amy Barrette left for Blank Rome LLP.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP leverages its top-notch regulatory capabilities to represent oil companies and independent pipeline companies in contentious regulatory and transactional matters, including accident responses and enforcement matters. Jointly led by Steven Reed and Daniel Poynor, the group is assisting pipeline industry trade association AOPL with various cases, including acting on behalf of the organization as an amicus party in a litigation connected to Portland Pipe Line Company’s challenge to an ordinance enacted by the City of South Portland, and David Coburn reached a settlement with the US government on behalf of Enbridge related to the 2010 crude oil release from the oil company’s pipelines in Michigan and Illinois. Other notable clients are ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobile and Sunoco. Jennifer Key made partner and Dane Jaques joined from Dentons.

Very goodSusman Godfrey LLP counts Apache, Chevron, KBR and Eni Petroleum among its clients and acts on both the plaintiff and defendant side. Thomas Paterson is representing Newfield Production Company in a dispute with Eighty-Eight Oil regarding the price of crude oil purchased under a five-year delivery contract and is acting on behalf of Hess Corporation in a damages claim case against Schlumberger Technology regarding the failure of sub-surface valves. In other work, Neal Manne and Alexander Kaplan are defending Vitol against statutory forfeiture penalty claims brought by Puerto Rico’s public utility PREPA concerning six fuel-supply contracts. Geoffrey Harrison is ‘an artist in the courtroom’ and Vineet Bhatia is ‘particularly adept in the energy arena’.

Earning praises for its ‘deep knowledge, excellent attention to detail’ and ability to ‘keep costs manageable’, Thompson & Knight LLP acts for a variety of clients from the oil and gas sector and is well versed in disputes regarding leases, royalties, personal injury, toxic tort, product liability as well as environmental litigation. Robert Vartabedian successfully represented BP America in a lease appeal case before the Texas Supreme Court brought by Red Deer Resources, while Hunter Barrow defended Richard and Cynthia Ridgeway in an alleged fraud and breach of contract case brought by Frontier Tubular Solutions regarding the sale of three oilfield service companies. Key clients include Boots & Coots, Petrobras and Three Rivers Operating Company / Three Rivers Acquisition.

Jointly led by Jim Thompson and John Wander, the team at Vinson & Elkins LLP represents a broad client portfolio, including Marathon Oil Corporation, Magellan Midstream Partners and Plains All-American Pipeline in state and federal courts, with a particular strength in Texas. Recent mandates include the representation of Energy Transfer Equity in a Delaware Supreme Court lawsuit regarding the termination of a proposed $38bn merger with The Williams Companies due to the failure of a condition precedent and acting on behalf Antero Resources in litigation against South Jersey Gas and its affiliate concerning the alleged breach of terms of a natural gas contract. Another mandate saw the group representing Occidental in an arbitration against Texas Brine arising from an expansive sinkhole in Assumption Parish, Louisiana; Christopher Popov, Walter Stuart and Marie Yeates are leading the case.

Baker & Hostetler LLP regularly handles disputes involving oil and gas leases, joint operating agreements, drilling contracts, exploration and development agreements as well as licensing agreements and patent infringement cases for clients such as Chevron, Devon Energy and Enterprise Products Operating. A recent highlight was the successful defence of SG Interests, co-owner of an interstate natural gas pipeline in west Colorado, against excessive pipeline access fee claims brought by a newly formed exploration and production company. The department, which is headed by Martin Booher, Poe Leggette and Ray Whitman, welcomed energy and environment litigator Matthew Thurlow, previously at Latham & Watkins LLP. Carey Gagnon joined Verizon as an in-house counsel and Thomas Kruse departed to Baker McKenzie LLP.

Hogan Lovells US LLP fields a cross-disciplinary team that combines regulatory and litigation expertise to represent clients before state and federal courts as well as in arbitration proceedings. In recent highlight work, the group acted on behalf of Eni in an alleged breach of a drilling contract case against Transocean, defended PDC Energy in several royalty cases and assisted CITGO, both as plaintiff and defendant, with various tort, contract and environmental claims. Another key client is Dominion Energy; a recent matter saw the group challenging a FERC decision enabling ACP and Mountain Valley Pipeline to take land for the construction of a pipeline. Maria Wyckoff Boyce heads the team.

Contentious work for oil and gas companies is a cornerstone of Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s practice: for its key client BP, the team continues to handle multidistrict and related civil litigation as well as governmental investigations arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and, most recently, acted in a breach of contract and recovery action against Cashman Equipment regarding overcharges for barge rental and skimming services during the response to the Deepwater Horizon incident. In other notable work, Gabor Balassa successfully represented Sabine Oil & Gas in a fraudulent conveyance trial arising from a merger that the company undertook six months prior to its bankruptcy filing. Names to note are the renowned Richard Godfrey and Washington D.C.-based Daniel Donovan.

Combining knowledge of the oil and gas industry with litigation capabilities, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP handles a steady flow of regulatory and enforcement litigation as well as commercial disputes and is particularly experienced in toxic torts and environmental disputes. James Dragna frequently serves as lead counsel for Southern California Gas Company and Sempra Energy in various contentious matters arising from the natural gas leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility, while Kenneth Komoroski, John Gisleson and Glen Stuart are defending Range Resources in an alleged water contamination case related to the company’s hydraulic fracturing activity. Another engagement saw the team representing Anadarko Petroleum in three damages claims cases concerning climate change impacts of oil and gas exploration and development.

Royalty class actions, lease disputes as well as infrastructure-related construction disputes form the bulk of Reed Smith LLP’s litigation work. Nicolle Snyder Bagnell, who heads the team alongside Craig Enochs, is assisting a gas transmission company with contentious issues related to the acquisition of permanent and temporary easements across multiple landowners’ properties necessary for a pipeline modernization project and Louis Naugle is representing the exploration and production segment of a Houston-based gas company in an air contamination case before the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The group significantly strengthened its capacities by hiring FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable, Regina Speed-Bost, previously energy chair at Schiff Hardin, and environmental law expert Daniella Landers from Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.

Clients value Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP for the ‘quality of work’ and ‘appropriate response times’. Led by Stuart Hollimon, the team advises on operation, exploration and production disputes, royalty disputes as well as product and services disputes. Recent highlights include the representation of Carpatsky Petroleum in a litigation against Ukrainian company OJSC Ukrnafta regarding the joint development of a Ukrainian oil and gas field and defending Encana against the alleged failure to recognize and pay overriding royalty interests. Representative clients are Chevron, Noble Energy and Sheridan Production Partners. Craig Stahl, Jeffrey Kuehnle and Emmie Gooch are now with Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. and Richard Deutsch joined McGuireWoods LLP.

McGuireWoods LLP is best known for the defence of oil companies. Los Angeles-based Greg Evans is representing ASARCO in a dispute with Montana Resources to become reinstated in a joint venture agreement after failed cash calls due to the client’s bankruptcy. Other highlights were the defence of CNX Gas in a mineral rights case before the Virginia Supreme Court and assisting CONSOL Energy with a dispute regarding the disposal of wastewater from an underground mine. The group is led by Ryan Purpura and includes Ronald Franklin as well as Jonathan Blank, who leads the oil and gas practice in the Marcellus Shale and Appalachian Basin area. Richard Deutsch joined from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.

For the ‘very strong’ and ‘super responsive’ team at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, disputes involving exploration and production, pipelines, joint ventures as well as energy trading and marketing are focus areas. A key matter was the representation of TOTAL E&P in three separate liability proceedings brought by Marubeni Oil & Gas related to decommissioning operations with respect to two leases and a pipeline system in the Gulf of Mexico. The department is jointly led by Karl Stern and Sanford Weisburst; other names to note are head of appellate practice Kathleen Sullivan and Washington-based David Orta, who leads the international arbitration practice. Julia Beskin and Ellyde Thompson made partners.

Litigation boutique Reynolds Frizzell LLP is highly specialized in commercial disputes within the oil and gas sector and acts for both plaintiffs and defendants. Michael Oldham and Chris Reynolds represented DCP Midstream in an arbitration brought by EOG Resources related to accounting practices under the parties’ gas purchase contract, while Christopher Hogan is acting on behalf of BHP Billiton Petroleum in an arbitration against Chesapeake regarding the client’s purchase of Chesapeake’s oil and gas operations in the Fayetteville Shale area. In another case, Hogan is representing Petrohawk Energy in an arbitration against Cameron to recover improper charges related to oilfield equipment.

Administration litigation before the FERC, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as well as district and appellate courts are mainstays for Winston & Strawn LLP. Timothy Carey and Elizabeth Bradshaw are acting on behalf of BP in a qui tam action, pending in the California Superior Court, related to an alleged violation of the California False Claims Act by overcharging California’s Department of General Services in connection with natural gas supply contracts. In other work, Gordon Coffee and Raymond Wuslich are representing Public Service Electric & Gas as an intervener in a complaint case filed by TranSource against PJM Interconnection regarding network upgrade cost responsibility. The team welcomed Basheer Ghorayeb from Jones Day. Dave Repka has retired.

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