Special Institute on

Oil & Gas Mineral Title Examination

Speakers & committee

Program Co-Chairs

HEIDI HANDE is U.S. Legal Counsel with Enerplus Resources in Denver, Colorado. Heidi graduated from the University of Wyoming with degrees in Environment and Natural Resources/Psychology, Political Science, and later with a J.D.  Heidi is licensed in Wyoming, Colorado, and her home state of North Dakota. She is a past President of the Denver Association of Oil and Gas Title Lawyers, teaches and participates in RMMLF Special Institutes, is a member of the Editorial Board for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Journal, and member of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. 

BRUCE RUDOY is a shareholder and director of Babst Calland, co-chair of its Energy and Natural Resources Group and chair of its Mineral Title Department, in Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Rudoy concentrates his practice in the areas of oil and gas, business transactions, corporate and real estate law. He counsels various oil and gas related clients on title, transaction and regulatory matters. Those matters are diverse and include oil and gas title issues and opinions, purchase and sale of oil and gas assets, due diligence examination and analysis, midstream title and transactional matters, and financial & joint venture operating structures (both as operator and non-operator). Mr. Rudoy graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1987 with a B.S. in Finance. He attended London Metropolitan University in London, England in 1986 where he studied law and economics. Mr. Rudoy received his J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1992. During law school, he served on the Cleveland-Marshall Journal of Law and Health. Mr. Rudoy was also a visiting student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Mr. Rudoy is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, Alaska, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. Mr. Rudoy is past chair of the Oil and Gas Committee of the American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy and Resources. He is also a member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF), Energy & Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF), American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL), Permian Basin Landman’s Association (PBLA), Houston Association of Professional Landmen (HAPL), Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), Northern Appalachian Landman’s Association (NALA), and National Association of Division Order Analysts (NADOA). Mr. Rudoy has been named in the Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Law sections of The Best Lawyers in America® since 2012 and to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list for Energy & Natural Resources since 2015. He has also been named in the Pittsburgh Business Times Who’s Who in Energy for the Marcellus/Utica Region since 2011.

Speakers and Program Committee

PAUL ATENCIO is a shareholder in Babst Calland’s Energy and Natural Resources Group and serves as a vice-chair of the firm’s Mineral Title Department. Paul is an experienced and creative problem solver specializing in oil and gas law and assisting clients in the development of oil and gas assets.  He counsels oil and gas companies on a wide range of energy matters, including title, due diligence, title defect curative work, mineral and lease acquisitions, joint ventures, oil and gas lease and leasing issues, and voluntary and forced pooling.  Paul also assists clients in their defense of disputes regarding royalty and bonus payments, ownership of oil and gas, and surface use and damage claims.  He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Texas and New Mexico.

PARKER J. AULD is an International Commercial Representative for Occidental Petroleum Corporation based in The Woodlands, Texas office. Currently Parker evaluates countries that exhibit geologic potential to determine if the requisite commercial thresholds are present to attract investment in the opportunity as well as maintaining and negotiating contracts that arise in existing producing international assets. New country entry evaluations include the review of model contracts to frame negotiations, the influence of fiscal regime on project economics and above ground risks, among others. Before this position Parker was a landman with Anadarko working in the Marcellus and Permian assets in both operated and non-operated roles on the mineral and surface side of the business handling leasing, trades, farmouts, drill schedule preparation, pooling agreements, pipeline/electric/road easements and FERC related projects. He is admitted to practice in Texas.

BRIAN R. BJELLA is of counsel in the Bozeman, Montana, office of Crowley Fleck PLLP. He worked for 38 years in the firm’s Bismarck, North Dakota office. Brian received his law degree from the University of North Dakota in 1979.  Prior to joining the firm, he served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of North Dakota, representing the Board of University and School Lands.  Brian is admitted to practice in the States of North Dakota and Montana. Brian’s primary areas of practice are mineral law and public utilities law. He has extensive experience in preparation of mineral title opinions, and the siting of energy facilities before state regulatory agencies. Brian has been very active in the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. He twice served on the Board of Directors, and several terms as a trustee. He was chair of the Long Range Planning Committee for nine years. He was on the program committee of the following special institutes: Mineral Title Examination III (1992); Oil & Natural Gas Pipelines (1995); The Electric Industry (1997); and Water Quality and Wetlands (2002). He served as co-chair of the landman’s section for the 2006 Annual Institute and of the oil and gas section for the 2011 Annual Institute.  Brian authored the following papers: “Removing the Operator Under the Joint Operating Agreement,” (1999); “Management of Water and Water Quality in Coal Mining: A Legal Perspective” (2002); “Are Landmen Practicing Law? The Legal & Ethical Issues,” (2003); and “Advanced Mineral Conveyancing and Title Issues,” (2007).  He co-authored “Common Issues in Preparation of a Title Opinion,” (2012) and (2015); and “Riparian Rights: Ownership of Minerals Under Rivers and Lakes” (2014).

MARK L. BURGHARDT represents clients in the energy and natural resource industry in litigation, administrative hearings, and transactions. Mark engages with clients to prevent and solve issues with the location and development of their oil, gas, mining, and renewable energy projects. He has worked with companies on projects involving federal, state, private, and Indian lands. Mark has also represented clients in a wide range of transactions and joint ventures. He has litigated energy development and land use disputes in both federal and state court and has routinely appeared before Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining and the Utah Division of Environmental Quality.

C. ELAINE CARLETON is a Denver-based attorney licensed in Colorado and Texas, and the managing partner of Carleton Gotlin Law PC. Her practice primarily focuses on oil and gas and energy development. She has extensive business and legal experience in all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including acquisition/divestment, exploration and development. Elaine administers and directs the resolution of various legal issues relating to exploration and drilling, including surface and mineral owner conflicts, title defects, and oil and gas transactional issues. Her practice includes complex multi-formation title opinions, including issues covering large spacing and pooled units and horizontal wells. She specializes in advising and representing clients on challenging title curative matters, due diligence projects and in Determination of Heirship actions.  Elaine received a BBA from the University of Texas with an emphasis in Petroleum Land Management. For 10 years she worked for ARCO Oil & Gas Company in various capacities, including landman, crude oil marketer, land administrator, and project coordinator for development of a gas/oil marketing system. In 1991, Elaine began law school at the University of Denver while working for Apache Corporation, Basin Exploration, Inc., and Amoco Production Company in Denver. Her primary duties were managing drilling projects including Commission oversight thereof, acquisitions, surface and contract negotiations. Elaine has authored and presented numerous papers covering complex title issues, pooling and spacing, determinations of heirship actions, surface issues, and conveyance of minerals.  

TIMOTHY C. DOWD is an attorney with Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson, P.C., in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Mr. Dowd is a past President of the Oklahoma City Mineral Lawyers Society (1996-97); and is past Chairperson of the Oklahoma Bar Association Mineral Law Section (2005-06). Mr. Dowd is the author of the Oklahoma chapter of AAPL’s Nationwide Comparison of Laws on Leasing, Exploration and Production (2011) and the chapter on Oil and Gas Titles in West Publishing Company’s Oklahoma Real Estate Forms and Practice. Mr. Dowd has written numerous articles for publication including:

Trespass in the Age of Horizontal Drilling Under State Conservation Statutes, 63 Rocky Mt. Min. L. Inst. 6A-1 (2017);

Current and Emerging Issues in Oil and Gas, Title Examination, Oil & Gas 2 Nat. Resources & Energy J. 505 (2017);

Clearing Title of Long-Lost Mineral Owners, 54 Rocky Mt. Min. L. Inst. 30-1 (2008); and

Preferential Rights to Purchase in Oil and Gas Transactions, 49 Rocky Mt. Min. L. Inst. 5-1 (2003).

Mr. Dowd’s primary area of practice is oil and gas law, including the rendering of title opinions and the drafting and negotiation of industry contracts.

JAMES F. ENGLISH is a partner in the Houston and Denver offices of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP. As a corporate attorney, Mr. English serves primarily the energy, mining, transportation and infrastructure development industries. Having spent nearly a decade in-house at an American petroleum and natural gas exploration and production company, Mr. English is an expert in the commercial agreements associated with deep water exploration & development, unconventionals, midstream projects, natural gas commercialization (LNG, pipelines, processing, GTL, industrial applications, etc.), and oilfield services. He has worked in more than 50 countries and is well versed in the requirements of international investment. In Energy and Mining, Mr. English represents companies in all aspects of their operations: mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, purchase and sale agreements, farmouts, production sharing, joint bidding, carry and earning agreements, Drillcos, participation, field development, operating agreements, unit operations, gathering, transportation, terminal agreements, facility access, tolling, sharing, interconnect, production handling and seismic acquisition. Mr. English also has significant experience in the commercialization of both energy and mining projects and can assist with spot, short and long term SPAs for the purchase of LNG, gas, ngl's, oil, metals, and aggregates. In Transportation, Mr. English has worked with pipelines, trucking, rail and aviation companies looking to sell or acquire businesses and assets. Having previously worked for the State of Colorado oil & gas regulator, Mr. English is experienced in what it takes to negotiate deals with a heavy regulatory influence.

KEITH B. HALL is Director of the Mineral Law Institute and the Campanile Charities Professor of Energy Law at Louisiana State University, where he teaches Mineral Rights, Civil Law Property, International Petroleum Transactions, and Energy Law & Regulation. His publications have focused on oil and gas leases, pooling and unitization, hydraulic fracturing, induced seismicity, and the management of produced water. He is co-author of a national casebook on oil and gas law and also is co-author of a book on the legal issues relating to hydraulic fracturing. He also is a contributing co-author to a forthcoming new edition of a book on international petroleum transactions. In addition to teaching at LSU, Professor Hall has taught energy law classes as a visiting professor at Baku State University in Azerbaijan, as a visiting professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and as an adjunct professor at Loyola School of Law. Before joining the LSU faculty, he practiced law at a major firm in New Orleans for sixteen years, and before that he worked for eight years as a chemical engineer in the petrochemical industry.

DAVE B. HATCH is an oil and gas title and transactional attorney in the Salt Lake City office of Holland & Hart. Dave has extensive experience with drilling title, division order, financing, and acquisition title opinions, leading the oil and gas title group in New Mexico. He provides efficient and reliable work on simple to complex issues involving federal, state, Indian, and private lands from the Bakken to the Permian. He also represents clients in all types of oil and gas transactions, including conducting due diligence, drafting and negotiating agreements, resolving issues, and getting deals to the closing table. Before joining Holland & Hart, Dave gained valuable experience and deeper understanding of issues from the client’s perspective working as a landman for an independent oil and gas company. During that time, he gained broad exposure to workings of an upstream oil and gas company by running title in the county records, negotiating oil and gas leases and assignments, and managing the company’s land database. Dave speaks frequently at industry conferences. He is an active member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and the American Association of Professional Landmen. He received his J.D. from University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law and B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Utah.

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 Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and is on the faculty for the RMMLF Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Short Course. He has served in various capacities for the American Association of Professional Landmen, as a director for the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico, and is a past-president of the New Mexico Landmen’s Association.  Mr. Hembree received a J.D. from Washington & Lee University School of Law in 2005 and graduated with Honors receiving a B.A. in History with a Minor in Museum Studies from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana in 2000.

LIANA JONES is a senior associate with the natural resource firm, Lear & Lear PLLC.  Liana is a graduate of the University of Utah Law School, and has a B.A. in psychology and sociology from the University of Colorado.  While in law school, Liana was awarded the Dewsnup Natural Resource Fellowship and went on to clerk for the Utah Attorney General’s office natural resources division, and was a member of the Journal of Land, Resources, & Environmental Law.  Upon graduation she went in to private practice, and has been with Lear and Lear for 6 years.  When not immersed in oil and gas law, Liana can be found in the mountains, either on a bike or on skis, depending on the season.  She also rides horses competitively on the Colorado hunter/jumper circuit. 

KRIS C. KOSKI, Long Reimer Winegar Beppler LLP, Cheyenne, WY

JESSICA LARAMIE is a Lecturer in Energy Management at Western Colorado University.  She teaches a wide array of oil and gas land management topics such as strategic negotiations, oil and gas law, property and contracts, federal land management, energy regulation and policy, oil and gas agreements, title, and business law. Jessica is also a principal at Whetstone Resources, LLC, a land services company headquartered on the Western Slope of Colorado.  Prior to her role at Western, she worked in various land-centered roles for oil and gas exploration and production companies in Denver, Colorado. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where she developed and taught Oil & Gas Agreements and Contemporary Issues in Oil & Gas.  Jessica co-authored “Social License to Operate: Hydraulic Fracturing Related Challenges Facing the Oil & Gas Industry” presented at the RMMLF Institute in Cartagena, Colombia, and “Where ‘Shale’ We Go From Here: Opportunities and Challenges in Shale Plays Located Outside the United States” presented at the RMMLF Institute in Quito, Ecuador.  She earned her J.D. from the University of Denver and is a native of Homer Glen, Illinois. She is a currently admitted to practice in Colorado and is a member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, the American Association of Professional Landmen, the Denver Association of Professional Landmen, and the Colorado Bar Association.

SEAN MARSHALL is the Vice President of Land for Centennial Resource Development, Inc., located in Denver, CO.  Mr. Marshall leads Centennial’s Land, Business Development and Government Relations efforts. Prior to joining Centennial, Mr. Marshall held the position of Director of Land Negotiation for Encana Oil & Gas (USA), leading Encana’s Permian Basin land team in acquisition and divestiture (“A&D”) and land operations support efforts since June of 2015. From August of 2013 to June of 2015 Mr. Marshall served as Vice President of Land and Legal for Source Energy Partners, LLC, and he was responsible for land, A&D and corporate governance efforts related to Source’s assets in the US and Latin America. From May of 2010 to August of 2013 Mr. Marshall served in land and business development roles at Resolute Energy Corporation related to their Bakken, Powder River and Permian Basin assets. From January of 2005 to May of 2010 Mr. Marshall provided land and legal services to Hawkeye Oil and Gas, Inc. From June of 2008 to May of 2010 Mr. Marshall was engaged in the private practice of law as a partner with the firm of Marshall and Todd LLP. Throughout his career, Mr. Marshall has been actively involved in land and business development activities throughout the lower 48 and South and Central America. Additionally, Mr. Marshall serves as a Vice President for the American Association of Professional Landmen (“AAPL”) having held prior roles as a board member and committee chairman.   He also serves as the President of the AAPL’s Education Foundation.  He currently serves on the board of the Texas Oil & Gas Association (“TXOGA”), the oldest and largest group in Texas representing oil and gas interests.   He is a Certified Professional Landman (“CPL”) and an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, Alabama and Colorado. Mr. Marshall earned a B.S. in Journalism and Business from the University of North Texas and his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law.

JOLISA MELTON DOBBS is a Partner in Thompson & Knight’s Oil and Gas Practice Group in the Firm’s Dallas office. She has expertly navigated clients through sophisticated oil and gas transactions totaling billions of dollars, with a focus on acquisition and disposition transactions throughout all oil and gas plays – including the Eagle Ford, Barnett, Haynesville, and Marcellus. Jolisa’s past experience as a Certified Public Accountant and an internal auditor for a major oil and gas company gives her an edge in assessing, understanding, and allocating various risks associated with oil and gas properties. In addition, she counsels clients in midstream and upstream transactions, including lending diligence and dispositions, oil and gas secured lending, joint venture and development arrangements, and acquisitions and dispositions of natural resources companies. Jolisa also has expertise in oil and gas title due diligence in acquisitions of properties, and she regularly advises clients regarding exploration and production activities, including preparation of agreements and COPAS issues, and regarding leasing issues. Jolisa is a frequent lecturer on oil and gas related topics at conferences and seminars, and has published numerous articles in prestigious industry journals. She is also a deep contributor to numerous leading oil and gas legal and accounting organizations, including serving as the current Treasurer and former Trustee and Executive Committee member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. Jolisa’s accolades include being honored by The Best Lawyers in America®, The Legal 500 US, Texas Super Lawyers®, and Who’s Who Legal: Energy. She received her J.D., with honors, from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and her M.A. and B.A. in Accounting, summa cum laude, from the University of Oklahoma.

AMY MOWRY is an attorney with a solo practice focusing on natural resources, energy and real property law. She is licensed in Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana and Utah. Amy has prepared all types of oil and gas title opinions in all of her licensed jurisdictions, beginning in Colorado in 2006. Her current practice focuses on the preparation of oil and gas title opinions for both large and small oil and gas operators and investors, and she also provides a wide range of oil and gas and real property services to her clients, including the preparation of mineral and real estate purchase and sale transaction agreements, surface use agreements, pipeline and transmission line right-of-way agreements, land leases and opinions on mineral concerns for commercial real estate purchasers, among other transactional services. In her free time Amy likes to help out on the family cattle ranch in Wyoming, and she travels and explores new countries as much as she can.

SAM NIEBRUGGE is a partner at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP in Denver, Colorado. His practice focuses primarily on transactional matters for the oil and gas and mining industries. In addition to his work with oil and gas and mining producers at DGS, he worked in-house for a large independent oil and gas producer. He is experienced in drafting and negotiating purchase and sale, development, exploration, joint operating, farmout, and master services agreements, as well as various other agreements in the oil and gas and mining industries. He has experience in both asset and equity transactions. He also has extensive experience preparing all forms of title opinions covering fee, state, and federal lands. He is a trustee, member of the Financial Advisory Committee and Special Institutes Committee, and the co-chair of the Oil and Gas Section for the 2018 Annual Institute for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF). He is also the former chair of the RMMLF Young Professionals Committee. He has authored several papers and spoken extensively to in-house counsel and at continuing legal education events on all matters associated with the oil and gas industry.

TJ ORAM is a founding member of Oram & Houghton, PLLC, and he leads a group of twenty attorneys who draft title opinions in Montana, Utah, North Dakota, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. He has experience drafting and supervising the drafting of numerous drilling and division order title opinions on federal, fee, state, and Native American lands. Prior to forming Oram & Houghton, TJ was the Rockies Case Manager and District Coordinator for a Texas based law firm, where TJ personally supervised and managed a large group of attorneys who drafted title opinions for and provided other drilling and division order advice to many oil and gas operators in the Rocky Mountain Region. Before joining that firm, TJ was trained by many of the finest and most well respected natural resource law and business law attorneys in Montana and North Dakota at Crowley Fleck, PLLC in Billings, Montana. TJ also has experience with oil and gas transactions, administrative and regulatory matters, oil and gas commissions, condemnation actions, health care law, large real estate transactions, probates and estates, commercial litigation, entity formation, and other commercial legal matters. TJ graduated Cum Laude with a J.D. from the University of Idaho and an M.B.A. from Washington State University. He is a member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, the Denver Association of Petroleum Landmen, the Montana Petroleum Association, and has spoken at a number of events on oil and gas title issues and Native American law. He is currently admitted to practice in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Utah.

MARGARET G. PATTON is a Member of the law firm Bradley, Murchison, Kelly & Shea, LLC based in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana office, where her practice focuses primarily on oil, gas and energy law. Ms. Patton represents major and independent oil and gas companies in title examination, division order work, and litigation, and she routinely advises her clients in all aspects of oil and gas exploration and production operations, including matters related to lease disputes, mineral owner demands, risk fee issues, contract negotiation and interpretation, statutory interpretation and other issues relevant to the drafting and operation of clauses found in mineral leases, joint operating agreements, and conveyances of mineral rights.  Ms. Patton has drafted hundreds of title opinions for numerous energy companies on acreage in Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale, Cotton Valley and Lower Cotton Valley, Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, Austin Chalk, and other Louisiana plays in both North and South Louisiana and has handled numerous curative projects involving complex title issues.  In addition to her work in the area of oil and gas exploration and production, Ms. Patton has represented industrial clients, including oil and gas operators, before LDEQ, LDWF and LDNR, handling permitting and regulatory compliance matters in the areas of air, water and waste. Ms. Patton spoken on a variety of mineral law issues at various Louisiana landman’s associations and has authored two papers for the Louisiana Mineral Law Institute.

URIAH PRICE is a partner in Crowley Fleck’s Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Department in Bozeman, Montana. Uriah is licensed in Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming and his practice encompasses multiple areas of energy and natural resources law. Uriah represents clients in front of the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Additionally, he handles oil and gas related litigation, title examination, due diligence and Indian law matters. Uriah is a former Trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and currently serves on the Foundation’s Special Institutes Committee and as faculty for the Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Short Course. Uriah obtained his Juris Doctorate, with honors, from Washburn University School of Law where he focused on oil, gas and natural resources law. Prior to law school, he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kansas.

DIANA PRULHIERE, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, Denver, CO

KYLE REYNOLDS, RBG Permian LLC, Midland, TX

DAVID G. RIES is of counsel in the Pittsburgh, PA office of Clark Hill PLC, where he practices in the areas of environmental, technology, and data protection law and litigation. For over 20 years, he has increasingly focused on cybersecurity, privacy, and information governance. He is a Trustee and Past President of the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation and served on a hearing committee for the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He has used computers in his practice since the early 1980s and since then has strongly encouraged attorneys to embrace technology - in appropriate and secure ways. Dave frequently speaks and writes nationally on legal ethics, technology, and technology law topics, including presentations for the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. He is a coauthor of Locked Down: Practical Information Security for Lawyers, Second Ed. (ABA 2016) and Encryption Made Simple for Lawyers (ABA 2015) and the editor of eDiscovery, Fourth Edition (PBI Press 2017).

TARA K. RIGHETTI is an associate professor at the University of Wyoming College of Law and the UW School of Energy Resources and is the director of the University of Wyoming’s AAPL accredited academic program in Professional Land Management. She teaches classes on oil and gas law and leadership, and coaches the schools energy negotiation competition team. She has written numerous articles on legal topics related to oil and gas and carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration. Tara is a trustee-at-large for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. She is licensed to practice in California and Texas and is a Certified Professional Landman.

ELENA RORABAUGH is a shareholder in the Energy and Natural Resources Group at Babst Calland in Pittsburg, PA, where she assists companies navigate the legal obstacles to oil and gas exploration and production. Elena’s practice focuses on energy, oil, gas and mineral-related transaction matters, including title examination and title curative work.  Elena also counsels clients with respect to acquisitions and divestitures of oil and gas assets and has experience in all aspects of title due diligence. She is a regular contributor to the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association’s monthly publication and has experience with title law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. 

ELIZABETH (“BETH”) ATKINSON RYAN is senior counsel at Concho Resources Inc., Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she advises asset teams on New Mexico operations, transactions, land, and regulatory matters. Prior to moving in house with Concho, Beth was a partner with Carson Ryan LLC in Roswell, New Mexico, where she focused her practice in the areas of oil and gas title examination, regulatory, complex transactions, corporate, public lands, and operational matters primarily for E&P companies operating in the State of New Mexico. After serving four years as a Member of the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB), in 2015 Governor Susana Martinez appointed her to the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission where she served almost four years and sought to achieve the State’s comprehensive wildlife management goals. Beth has also served as a Trustee for the RMMLF since 2008, representing the New Mexico Bar Association. She also served on the Lovelace Regional Hospital Board of Directors, and in the New Mexico Landman’s Association, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, and the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico. She is also an accomplished published author on issues ranging from appellate standards of review to oil and gas. Beth graduated from Texas Tech School of Law in May 2006. She has been married to Zack Ryan for sixteen years. They have two children: Belle (10 years old) and Kathryn (6 years old).

ELIZABETH SPENCER, BP, Denver, CO

BRIAN R. SULLIVAN, McElroy Sullivan Miller & Weber, LLC, Austin, TX. In 1982, Brian Sullivan and Mike McElroy founded their law firm. The firm is now named McElroy, Sullivan, Miller & Weber, LLP. Brian is a Partner Emeritus and continues to practice with the Firm. Brian is a Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering and is Board Certified in Oil, Gas and Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Brian is currently a grader for the Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Certification Examination. Starting in the Spring of 2019, Brian joined the faculty of the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin where he teaches Oil and Gas Law to upper division engineering students. Prior to founding his law firm, Brian was a Legal and Technical Examiner (now Administrative Law Judge) in the Oil and Gas Division of the Railroad Commission of Texas. Prior to leaving the Railroad Commission, Brian was appointed Staff Counsel to Commissioner Buddy Temple. Brian was previously employed as a Production Engineer at Amoco Production Company and a Consulting Engineer with Max F. Powell. Brian has served as the Chairman of the Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law Council of the State Bar of Texas; Chairman of the Visiting Committee for the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at UT; and serves on the Regulatory Affairs Committee of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. He has also served as a Trustee at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas and at Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas; and as an Elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. Brian has been recognized by Texas Lawyer as one of five “Go To” lawyers for Energy Law and has been a Texas Monthly “Super Lawyer” every year from 2007 forward.  He graduated with Honors in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas in 1976 and subsequently graduated from the University of Texas Law School. Brian has been licensed to practice law since 1979. Brian has been married for more than thirty-five years to his law school classmate, Cynthia Marshall Sullivan.  They have three children and two grandchildren.

JEFF TAYLOR is a partner at Lear & Lear PLLC.  He graduated magna cum laude in 2002 from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Wildlife and Range Resources. After graduation, but before law school, Jeff worked for the U.S. Forest Service’s Shrub Sciences Laboratory. Jeff graduated from law school in 2006 from the University of Utah, where he was a Leary Scholar and a member of the Utah Law Review.  Though born and raised in Southern California, Jeff chose to spend his summers at his grandparents’ cattle ranch, where he learned to irrigate, vaccinate cattle, cut, bail and haul hay; and “fix fence”. Jeff enjoys climbing, back packing, skiing, hiking and fly fishing. Jeff’s current passions are climbing, his family, and wife Ashlee.

SCOTT L. TURNER is a shareholder in the Denver, Colorado office of Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, P.C.  Scott is a transactional and title attorney who focuses his practice on real property and oil and gas matters, including mineral title, transactions and royalty issues.  He has extensive experience drafting acquisition, due diligence, drilling and division order title opinions covering lands and transactions from the Powder River to the Permian basins. In addition, Scott represents clients in real property transactions, including drafting, negotiating agreements, due diligence and curative.  He speaks frequently at local oil and gas organizations and has been involved with the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation throughout his career. Scott received his B.A. with distinction from Indiana University in 1998.  After a seven-year career as a management information systems consult, he attended the University of Colorado Law School and received his Juris Doctor in 2008.  Scott is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Texas and Wyoming.

PAUL UPSONS is a Member of Poulson, Odell & Peterson, LLC in Denver, Colorado.  He has been with the firm since 2001, specializing in title examination and the preparation of oil and gas title opinions covering fee, state, and federal lands in Colorado, North Dakota, and Wyoming. He obtained a B.A. from the University of Denver in 1991, and a J.D. from the University of Denver College of Law in 1994. Mr. Upsons has given presentations on real property and mineral law issues to various organizations, including the presentation of papers at the 2007 and 2015 Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Special Institutes on Mineral Title Examination. He has published various articles and papers, and he is the updating author of the chapter on Bonds in "The Law of Federal Oil and Gas Leases."

LEIA G. URSERY is a member of the Wealth Strategies Group in the Denver office of Lathrop Gage LLP. Her practice focuses on estate and tax planning, estate and trust administration, protective proceedings, and related litigation. Ms. Ursery is the current Chair of the Executive Council for the Colorado Bar Association - Trust and Estate Section and a prior Chair of the Statutory Revisions Committee and the Orange Book Committee. Additionally, Ms. Ursery serves as a member of the Colorado Bar Association - Legislative Policy Committee. Ms. Ursery was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) in October 2017 and was selected as a Colorado Super Lawyer - Rising Star between 2010 and 2015 and as a Colorado Super Lawyer since 2016 in the area of Estate Planning & Probate. Ms. Ursery serves as an adjunct professor at both the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (probate practicum) and the University of Colorado – Denver (estate and gift taxation). She received her Juris Doctor and Master of Law (Taxation) from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Ms. Ursery concentrates her volunteer efforts within the community by serving as a frequent volunteer for the Pro Se Clinic at the Denver Probate Court, LawLine 9, and the Wills Lab Clinic and the Tribal Wills Program provided through the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.