I'm glad that I'm using an attorney to handle my 'business', it makes it so much easier and professional. I'm sure that there have been many of you that had a bad experience with one, but the firm I've chosen has been great to me. I'm kept well informed and I like the way they negotiate for me. At the beginning, I thought I could handle it all myself, but it's too complicated without legal help. You will get way more money negotiating through an attorney then by yourself.
Zack, a knowledgeable O&G attorney can get as good a deal as possible from the O&G companies because of experience with the industry and O&G law, not by being "unfair" or unethical. For example, holding out in a negotiation is a good strategy, like you say, but that lawyer is being smart based on their knowledge of the industry and these negotiations, not being unfair. As a landowner, I'd be nervous about using an "unfair" attorney because if the attorney is willing to be dishonest with the other side, then how confident am I that the attorney is being honest with me?
I saw Ron's posts and, as an O&G attorney, it was frankly very disheartening to read. Each of the practices Ron mentioned probably violated the ethics rules (can't charge unconscionable fees) or the lawyer's fiduciary duty to the clients. And in such a case, of course it would be strongly recommended that the aggrieved client seek a remedy against the attorney either in court or with the state bar association or both.
The best way to protect against this happening in the first place, however, is to do some research on the attorney. Are there any complaints with the bar (many times this is available online to the public)? Has the attorney been practicing O&G law for long? What do people on message boards like this one say about the attorney? What does the engagement letter / fee agreement say? Etc. If you get red flags about hiring a specific attorney on the front end of the engagement, then it is probably best to find another attorney rather than decide to go it alone.
Within the first ten minutes of the film " Freakonomics" they prove how a Realtor benefits by pushing the seller to sell at a lower amount, then the Realtor gets to move on to new sales. It is not worth it for the Realtor to hold out for a higher selling price. I have experienced this ( Before I saw the movie). I also settled two separate legal transactions on the advice of two separate Atttorneys, and realized later that I had been manipulated both times. These Attorneys charge hundreds an hour, up to a point. Then they will lose because, just like the Realtor, they could be working on a new profitable client. Anyone working on commission loses money, the longer they work the less they make an hour. They promise anything up front, then convince you to settle so they get their profit. Why would an Attorney tell you to hold out for a thousand more when that Attorney would have to put in hours more work, and wait months longer, only to get a few dollars more? Get and watch the film " Freakonomics". It applies to anyone on commission. Confer with an Attorney, ask many questions, then trust your own instincts. If uncomfortable, go see another Attorney and hope you find one that fights for you. Good luck,Joe
Joe, I agree totally with what you're saying. Even if you find a good oil/gas attorney, they might be anxious to settle too quickly, while holding out would get the landowner much more money. I worry that my attorney will do this, but I have final say on things.
here is my take most if not all attorneys they are working with drillers because the drilling company's left are crooks themselves that is why they are still drilling and making money and you cant beat them they have attorneys on payroll 24-7 and lots of them . and guess what- gas- oil - is their specialty . so good luck ! i been to 5 and they was all for me until they talk with gas company then their minds set and attitude seems to have change, because my guess green backs was offered . i have nothing left to say ? rich stealing from land owners been happening since railroads started in wild west .