Prominent Energy Group Joins Baker & McKenzie LLP in Houston

Houston, June 10, 2009 – – Legal Announcements – Baker & McKenzie has strengthened its Houston office and Global Major Projects practice with the addition of a seven-person team with extensive experience and industry recognition in the oil and gas sector. The team includes partners Michael Byrd, Louis Davis and Ben Welmaker; Glen White as Of Counsel and associates David Wildes, Cody Carper and James Sonnier. All join from Thompson & Knight LLP.

The team will bolster the Houston office’s existing Major Projects / Energy practice, which serves Firm clients worldwide. Team members will combine their significant experience in and knowledge of the oil and gas sector with the existing capabilities of the Firm’s Major Projects practice and energy-focused practitioners in the Corporate & Securities, Tax, Banking and Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Financial Restructuring, Private Equity, Environment and Climate Change and Litigation Practice Groups.

“Energy remains a strategic and promising sector world-wide, even during these challenging times,” said Peter Engstrom, North American Managing Partner. “Evidenced by the recent opening of our Abu Dhabi office, the energy industry continues to be a priority focus for our Firm, which has hundreds of attorneys around the world in key energy markets such as Houston, London, the Middle East, China and the CIS, as well as Latin America. This team’s reputation for high-level transactional work will enhance our practice’s domestic services and further our global capabilities.”

Byrd’s practice is representing clients in all phases and sizes of acquisitions and divestitures of producing properties and oil and gas companies. He provides advice and prepares agreements covering a variety of upstream transactions, including exploration agreements, operating agreements, seismic agreements and farm-outs. He also represents numerous clients in leasing and conveyancing transactions. In addition, Byrd represents clients in various oil and gas litigation matters, which have included disputes over lease termination, operating agreements, surface access, and title and environmental defects asserted in connection with purchases of producing properties. He received a B.B.A. with Honors in 1980 from the University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. with Honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 1987.

Davis’ extensive experience in transactional matters regarding oil and gas exploration and production, acquisition and divestiture of producing properties, property and due diligence issues pertaining to oil and gas financing and capital investment, and advising land management and mineral owners regarding oil and gas exploration and production matters. Davis formerly served as the Oil and Gas Practice Leader at Thompson & Knight. He received a B.A. from Southwestern University in 1974 and a J.D. from the University of Houston in 1976.

Byrd and Davis are both Board Certified in Oil, Gas and Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and have been selected as Super Lawyers in Energy and Natural Resources Law by Texas Monthly magazine. Byrd, who is also licensed in Louisiana, serves on the Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Exam Commission and as chair of the Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Advisory Commission of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He and Davis currently are actively representing clients in several emerging resource plays across the U.S.

Welmaker represents oil and gas companies in international and domestic transactions, including purchases and sales of oil and gas properties; farm-out, exploration and operating agreements; and arbitration of oil and gas contract disputes. His international experience includes energy-related transactions in the UK, Australia, Canada, the Middle East, South America, and most recently, West Africa. Welmaker is actively involved in the development of model international oil and gas agreements for the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators. He received his B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin in 1964 and LL.B. from The University of Texas School of Law in 1967. In addition to Texas, he is licensed to practice in Florida.

“Mike, Louis, Ben and the team are very well known and highly respected in the Houston oil and gas community and will strengthen our presence in the marketplace,” said Lisa Meyerhoff, Managing Partner of Baker & McKenzie’s Houston office. “They are representative of our continued commitment to strategic growth here and abroad.”

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