Young Natural Resources Lawyers and Landmen Institute

Speakers & committee

Program Chairs

ANN E. LANE is Senior Counsel for WPX Energy, Inc. in Denver, Colorado, supporting WPX’s assets in the Piceance and Powder River Basins, as well as its acquisition and divestiture, infrastructure and exploration teams. Ann has over 25 years of natural resources experience – including 8 years as a Petroleum Landman. Prior to joining WPX, Ann was in-house counsel at XO communications, Kerr-McGee Rocky Mountain Corporation, and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. She started her legal career as an associate at Jones Day Reavis & Pogue in Dallas, Texas and at Holme Roberts & Owen in Denver, Colorado. Ann graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a Business Degree and from Southern Methodist University School of Law with her J.D. Ann is a member of the Texas and Colorado bar associations and the Denver Association of Petroleum Landmen. She is a former President of the Natural Resources and Energy Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association. She is active in several committees for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and has also served as a former trustee.

HEIDI K. RUCKRIEGLE is a Senior Associate at WilmerHale. Her practice centers on regulatory matters. She represents clients in oil and gas development, mining projects, transmission infrastructure, renewable energy infrastructure, and water law on private and public lands. She advises on environmental issues and land use permitting and development, and has regional, national, and international experience spanning all stages of permitting, development, and compliance for clients. She has conducted research and advised on the Federal Land Policy Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and Clean Water Act.

Program Committee

STACIE CARTER, Antero Resources, Denver, CO

SARAH Y. DICHARRY is an attorney in the New Orleans office of Jones Walker LLP. She focuses her practice on advising exploration and production companies on, and representing those companies in disputes arising under, the complex statutory and regulatory scheme governing federal oil and gas lessees. Sarah’s experience includes representing federal lessees in dozens of administrative and judicial appeal proceedings, including those involving royalty disputes (e.g., Marketable Condition Rule, civil penalties, vented and flared production, refund demands) and lease maintenance issues (e.g., suspensions of operations and suspensions of production). She also provides advice regarding regulatory compliance (including exposure for operational violations) and represents lessees in government-initiated enforcement investigations (including those initiated by Department of the Interior sub-agencies and the Department of Justice).

JEFF N. FAILLERS is a partner at Erwin Thompson Faillers in Reno, Nevada. His practice includes business, corporate, real estate, and natural resources law with an emphasis on the representation of natural resource exploration and operating companies. Jeff handles complex transactions and mining-related matters, including property and corporate due diligence; project financing; title examination, reports, and legal opinions; business, property, and water right acquisition and disposition; and land-use entitlements. Prior to practicing law, he worked as an independent mineral landman where he assisted clients in the negotiation and acquisition mineral properties throughout the western United States. Jeff currently serves as a trustee for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation.

MARK BENJAMIN MACHLIS is a Partner at Dorsey & Whitney. He helps clients navigate the complexity of state and federal environmental requirements to achieve their business objectives. He represents clients throughout the life cycle of their projects, from acquisition and permitting to operational compliance, enforcement defense, remediation, closure, and divestiture. He has extensive experience in matters involving state and federal regulations regarding solid and hazardous waste (RCRA), hazardous materials transportation (HMR), toxic chemicals (TSCA), water quality (CWA), community right-to-know laws (EPCRA), and remediation of contaminated property (CERCLA). Ben has been recognized by Mountain States Super Lawyers® as a “Rising Star” in Environmental practice in 2014 through 2017 and by Utah Business Magazine as a Utah Legal Elite, Up and Coming lawyer in 2017. He has served as Young Professionals Committee Chairman (2016-2017) of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, as a member of the Board of Directors of Utah Open Lands, and as an adjunct faculty member at the S.J. Quinney College of Law.

CONNIE ROGERS is the founder and principal of Terra Law Group, LLC, in Golden, Colorado. Connie helps clients navigate complex regulatory regimes and environmental reviews, with an emphasis on compliance with U.S. federal land management statutes, the National Environmental Policy Act, species protection statutes, federal Indian law, cultural resource and religious freedom concerns, and international human rights and indigenous peoples issues. Connie previously served as Deputy Solicitor for Energy and Mineral Resources at the U.S. Department of the Interior, where she was the lead lawyer on issues relating to the development of renewable and conventional energy and mineral resources.  Connie is a former trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and a frequent speaker at the Annual Institute and Special Institutes. Connie is listed in The Best Lawyers in America© for Native American Law (twice as Lawyer of the Year for Native American Law in Denver), in Who’s Who Legal: Mining, Denver Business Journal’s list of Top Women in Energy, and by Chambers USA for Natural Resources & Environment. Connie graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was an Olin Fellow in Law and Economics and a member of the Order of the Coif.

PAUL M. TILLEY is an Associate in the Tucson office of DeConcini McDonald, Yetwin & Lacy, PC, and a member of the Natural Resources Practice Group. His primary practice areas include public lands, mining law, natural resources and environmental law, water law, and general real estate matters.  He has experience advising clients on the development of natural resource projects, title considerations involving the acquisition of mineral rights, and due diligence associated with the acquisition and conveyance of water rights.  Paul received his J.D. from Tulane University Law School.

Speakers

JOHN ALMY, is a partner in the Houston office of Liskow & Lewis. He is a business lawyer who focuses on the creation, drafting and negotiation of oilfield operational contracts with experience in both domestic and international work.  John has extensive experience helping clients design and implement risk allocation programs using indemnity and insurance concepts for work in Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, and has assisted clients with their endeavors in locations stretching from Colorado to Israel and North Dakota to Venezuela.

JIM BENDER is in an Of Counsel position with Hall Estill. Before joining them Jim was Senior Vice President and General Counsel for WPX Energy, Inc., from December 2011 to December of 2014. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Williams Companies for 9 years. He also served as General Counsel for NRG Energy in Minneapolis, MN and was an associate in the Denver and London offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Jim is a native of Aurora, Illinois and received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from St. Olaf College in 1978. He received his juris doctorate degree in 1981 from the University of Minnesota Law School where he graduated magna cum laude. Immediately following law school, he was a law clerk for the Honorable Donald D. Alsop, a federal district court judge in St. Paul, MN.Jim currently serves as a director of the general partner of Shell Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE:SHLX) and is a member of the Audit and Conflicts Committees. He also serves as a director of Two Harbors Investment Corp. (NYSE: TWO) where he serves on the Compensation and Corporate Governance and Nominating Committees. Mr. Bender is also an advisory board member at Orion Energy Partners, a New York based private equity fund. While still in Tulsa, Jim served on the Board of Directors of the Tulsa Area United Way and chaired the 2011 community-wide fundraising campaign. He also was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Philbrook Museum of Art, the Board of Directors of the KIPP Preparatory School Tulsa, and the Board of Visitors for the Sustainable Energy and Resources Law Program at the University of Tulsa College of Law.Jim and his wife, Kristin, volunteer in the Denver community and are involved in the Mile High United Way, receiving the Tocqueville Ascent Award in 2017.

JENNIFER BIEVER is a director at Lewis, Bess, Williams & Weese P.C. She is one of the leading legal experts nationally and in the Rocky Mountain region on methane and related emissions from the oil and gas industry. Jennifer recently worked with industry, environmental stakeholders and the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division to develop a first-of-its-kind emissions monitoring framework for the natural gas transmission sector and plays a significant role in Colorado’s ongoing oil and gas rulemakings and stakeholder processes. Jennifer assists in evaluating, commenting on, and contesting state and federal regulatory regimes affecting environmental requirements and compliance, and her wealth of knowledge and experience allows her to assist companies in the implementation of compliance evaluation programs, handling of environmental enforcement matters, permitting of significant and comprehensive natural resource projects, and litigation related to such permitting actions. Jennifer has represented several companies in enforcement by state and federal agencies with respect to emissions from oil and gas storage tank facilities.

MATT BINGHAM is the Director of Legal and Public Affairs for the Arizona Business Unit of Hudbay Minerals, working primarily on the company's Rosemont Copper Project near Tucson. In this role, Matt manages a wide range of legal matters including Federal and State court litigation, environmental permitting advice, contract negotiation and management, real property acquisitions, and water rights; in addition to supervising the Land and Public Affairs departments. Prior to this position, he spent seven years in the environmental and regulatory practice group of Lewis, Roca, Rothgerber & Christie's Phoenix office. Matt has been involved with RMMLF for over 10 years, initially attending the Mining Law Short Course in 2009 and making it to almost every Annual Institute since. He has a law degree from Columbia Law School, a Bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Arizona State University, and an Associates degree in physics from Eastern Arizona College. Outside of work, Matt enjoys wrestling with his two young boys (two and four), road-tripping with the family, and visiting the Reid Park Zoo, where he also serves as a Board member.

AUSTIN ELAM, based in Houston, is co-chair of Haynes and Boone’s 85+ member Oil and Gas Practice Group. He maintains a broad transactional energy practice with an emphasis on complex upstream and midstream oil and gas transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures and DrillCos, and financings of oil and gas properties and energy assets across the broader energy spectrum. Austin has represented clients in connection with practically every active oil and gas play in the U.S. His recent transactions include underwritten reserve-based financings, project development and alternative finance, and purchase and sale agreements, farmout agreements, participation agreements, joint development agreements, and a variety of other transactions ranging from gathering, transportation and marketing agreements to ISDA Master Agreements. Austin was named a “Rising Star” by Texas Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters (2015-2019). He received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University and his juris doctor from Georgetown University Law Center.

JEFF N. FAILLERS is a partner at Erwin Thompson Faillers in Reno, Nevada. His practice includes business, corporate, real estate, and natural resources law with an emphasis on the representation of natural resource exploration and operating companies. Jeff handles complex transactions and mining-related matters, including property and corporate due diligence; project financing; title examination, reports, and legal opinions; business, property, and water right acquisition and disposition; and land-use entitlements. Prior to practicing law, he worked as an independent mineral landman where he assisted clients in the negotiation and acquisition mineral properties throughout the western United States. Jeff currently serves as a trustee for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation.

BRYON M. LARGE is an Assistant Regulation Counsel in the Trial Division at the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.  He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Denver and his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of New Mexico.  Prior to joining the office, Bryon worked in private practice as an immigration attorney for over nine years. Bryon is currently the President-Elect of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association.  Bryon also serves on the Ethics Committee for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), where he previously served five years on the Board of Governors.  Bryon is a past Chapter Chair of the Colorado Chapter of AILA, a past Chair of the Immigration Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association, and is a Past President of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association, where he continues to serve on the Board.  In 2014, Bryon was honored by the Colorado LGBT Bar Association as the Attorney of the Year.  Bryon is committed to diversity and inclusivity initiatives for the bar and the bench to further the public’s confidence in the legal system. 

 Bryon is particularly proud to be the primary caretaker of his two teenage children.

MARK BENJAMIN MACHLIS is a Partner at Dorsey & Whitney. He helps clients navigate the complexity of state and federal environmental requirements to achieve their business objectives. He represents clients throughout the life cycle of their projects, from acquisition and permitting to operational compliance, enforcement defense, remediation, closure, and divestiture. He has extensive experience in matters involving state and federal regulations regarding solid and hazardous waste (RCRA), hazardous materials transportation (HMR), toxic chemicals (TSCA), water quality (CWA), community right-to-know laws (EPCRA), and remediation of contaminated property (CERCLA). Ben has been recognized by Mountain States Super Lawyers® as a “Rising Star” in Environmental practice in 2014 through 2017 and by Utah Business Magazine as a Utah Legal Elite, Up and Coming lawyer in 2017. He has served as Young Professionals Committee Chairman (2016-2017) of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, as a member of the Board of Directors of Utah Open Lands, and as an adjunct faculty member at the S.J. Quinney College of Law.

ERIC MARTIN is a partner with Stoel Rives LLP in Portland, Oregon. His practice focuses on natural resource development with an emphasis on property and transactional matters in the oil and gas (upstream and midstream) and mining industries.  Eric helps clients buy, lease and sell subsurface natural resources and renewable natural gas (RNG); obtain financing; permit projects on the federal, state and local levels; and resolve disputes.  He has handled transactional, development and operational issues for a variety of projects on both private and public lands, including natural gas pipelines and underground storage facilities; oil and natural gas exploration and production projects; geologic carbon sequestration and RNG projects; and mining ventures for precious and base metals, industrial minerals and construction materials.  Eric earned his juris doctorate from Stanford Law School, where he served as associate managing editor of the Stanford Law and Policy Review.  He received a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Gustavus Adolphus College and a master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Vermont.  Eric currently serves as a Trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and is a former Chair of its Young Professionals Committee.

NATHALIE MARTIN is the Frederick M. Hart Chair in Consumer and Clinical Law at University of New Mexico School of Law, where she teaches commercial and consumer law, as well as mindfulness and professional development. She practiced law in large law firms in Philadelphia and Boston before joining the UNM faculty in 1998, primarily doing real estate transactions and representing various parties in the transactional aspects of Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. Nathalie is part of a growing movement to teach mindfulness and emotional intelligence in the law school classroom. This movement makes explicit that wellness is a core attorney competency, that the interpersonal side of lawyering is critical, and that many lawyers need help finding purpose and meaning in their work. Nathalie is the author of numerous books and articles. Here most recent book is Lawyering from the Inside Out: Learning Professional Development through Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence (Cambridge University Press).

DAWN G. MEIDINGER is a director with Fennemore Craig, P.C. in Phoenix, Arizona. She practices in the areas of natural resources, real estate, and environmental law, with a focus on mining, public land utilization (state and federal) and permitting. In the natural resources sector, she has extensive experience permitting mining, renewable energy, and linear projects addressing all aspects of NEPA, NHPA, and ESA compliance. With respect to public lands, she has represented clients seeking a variety of use authorizations (exploration and mine plans of operation, special use permits, rights-of-way, grazing leases, etc.) from federal and state agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service, and Arizona State Land Department. Prior to joining the firm, Dawn worked as in-house counsel for Phelps Dodge Corporation (today Freeport-McMoRan Inc.) and in the private sector serving as the operational lead on the entitlement and development of large residential and industrial real estate projects in metro-Phoenix. Dawn received her J.D. from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (ASU) in 1996 and her B.S. in Justice Studies from ASU in 1990 and grew up in Wyoming.

NORA PINCUS is a partner in the Salt Lake City and Denver offices of Dorsey and Whitney. Nora is nationally recognized for her experience guiding mining, oil and gas, renewable energy, and agricultural companies through complicated transactions. Her practice focuses on representing clients in high value asset transactions, financings, and project development/build-out. Nora has substantial experience managing multi-disciplinary teams in major M&A transactions from due diligence to closing. She is an expert on the public land laws of the United States, working in tandem with regulatory and commercial teams in facilitating environmentally responsible development on public lands. Nora also helps clients in the ranching and agricultural sectors reach their commercial and conservation goals. Nora’s clients include domestic and international mining and energy companies, renewable energy developers, multinational agricultural corporations, national banks, and private equity funds. Nora received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and her law degree from the University of Denver.  Outside of work, Nora enjoys spending time outdoors skiing, biking and running. 

VANESSA L. RAY-HODGE is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Acoma and Partner in the Albuquerque office of Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP. Ms. Ray-Hodge works in all areas of the firm’s practice with a special focus in water rights and energy and economic development issues. Ms. Ray-Hodge also regularly advises and represents tribal clients on matters involving land into trust, reservation boundary issues, treaty rights, tribal jurisdiction and regulation, gaming, natural resources development, and infrastructure development. She regularly assists tribes in navigating issues related to federal environmental and regulatory compliance statutes and in working with federal agencies at the local and national level. 

Prior to rejoining Sonosky, Ms. Ray-Hodge served as the Senior Counselor to Solicitor Hilary Tompkins at the Department of the Interior. At Interior, Ms. Ray-Hodge advised the Solicitor on Indian Affairs issues and was integral in a multitude of decisions. Some of her key efforts included addressing the Supreme Court’s decision in Carcieri v. United States, to continue to take land into trust for tribes, culminating in the Solicitor’s M-Opinion 37029 (March 12, 2014); participating in settling tribal trust lawsuits, including working with the Secretary’s Trust Reform Commission; advising senior Departmental officials on tribal consultation requirements, economic and natural resources development issues in Indian country, including oil and gas operations, and Indian gaming and water rights litigation and settlement issues. 

Ms. Ray-Hodge attended Wellesley College graduating in 2000 with a major in Anthropology. She went on to Columbia Law School graduating in 2003 with honors as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. Ms. Ray-Hodge is licensed in Oregon, New Mexico and Washington D.C.

ELIZABETH ATKINSON RYAN (“Beth”) is senior counsel at Concho Resources Inc. in its Santa Fe office where she advises the company’s asset and business development teams on New Mexico operations, regulatory, transactions, title examination, litigation, and is the leading expert in New Mexico on regulatory and administrative practices of the Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico Oil Conservation Division, and New Mexico State Land Office. Prior to going in house with Concho, Beth was a founding-partner at the law firm of Carson Ryan LLC.  In this role, Beth managed a highly successful business, was responsible for finances, marketing, human resources, and provides legal and business advice to prestigious clientele.  Her particular experience is oil and gas title examination, regulatory, complex transactions, corporate, litigation and operations.  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 served as a Trustee for the RMMLF since 2008, representing the New Mexico Bar Association. Beth was the Landman Section Chair at the Annual Institute in 2018, serves on Site Selection and Publications Committees, and several special institute program committees. Beth serves on the Lubbock Christian University Foundation Board and was LCU’s Commencement Speaker in 2019. Beth is a published author several times over, on issues ranging from appellate standards of review in criminal cases, tort liability of alcohol providers, and many topics on oil and gas operations, including presenting at multiple special institutes. Beth is married to Zack Ryan, and they have two daughters, Belle age 11 and Kate age 6.

BRITTANY SALUP serves as Counsel on Chevron Upstream Law’s U.S. Litigation Management team. In this role, Brittany manages a variety of litigation across the U.S., and she works closely with the legal team that supports Chevron’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Before joining Chevron, Brittany was a partner in the New Orleans office of Kean Miller LLP, where she focused on oil & gas, environmental, and toxic tort litigation and regulatory matters. Brittany holds a B.A. in Political Science from Virginia Tech and a J.D. from Tulane University Law School. Brittany and her husband, Adam, live in New Orleans.

HUGH THATCHER leads Rio Tinto’s US legal team in providing support for Rio’s US-located businesses and assets, which including mining, smelting and refining, a mining megaproject, exploration, and legacy site management.  Prior to joining Rio Tinto in 2011 Hugh worked in private practice in Colorado.  He has a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School, and a B.A. from Whitman College.

ELIZABETH H. (LIZ) TITUS practices in Hogan Lovells US LLP’s Denver, Colorado, office.  She represents clients in the energy and natural resources industries, including mining companies, oil and gas producers, and midstream companies, on a diverse variety of matters. She represents clients with operations on both private and public lands and provides advice regarding commercial issues, surface use, permitting requirements, and regulatory compliance. Liz has represented clients in regulatory enforcement actions before various federal and state agencies, including the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA), the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (FMSHRC), Colorado Minded Land Reclamation Board (MLRB), the Colorado Oil Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC).  Liz represents energy clients in both state and federal court in commercial disputes and in class actions. Liz also advises clients on the compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Mine Safety and Health Act (MSHA), and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA).